Media Interview Do’s and Don’ts

by Jennifer Heinly (


  • Brief yourself on all the news or latest events in your field before your interview.
  • State the most important facts at the beginning of the interview.
  • Remember to get your three key messages across at least once in the interview.
  • Address the interviewer by his or her first name.
  • Avoid using jargon (even if it is commonplace in your industry).
  • Talk from the viewpoint of the public’s interest, not your own interest.
  • If the reporter asks a direct question, give an equally direct answer.
  • Tell the truth, even if it hurts.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, simply say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you.” Then do it!
  • Take the opportunity if the reporter asks if there is anything else you would like to say at the end of the interview.
  • Say thank you after the interview is complete.


  • Don’t wait until you are asked specifically about your key points before you bring them up in the interview.
  • Don’t answer hypothetical questions.
  • If you do not want some statement quoted, do not make it.
  • If a question contains offensive language or words you do not like, do not repeat them even to deny them.
  • Do not exaggerate the facts.
  • Don’t ask for a copy of the reporter’s story before or even after it is published.
  • Don’t expect to be interviewed by reporters who understand your business or industry.

Book publicist Jennifer Heinly can be reached at


One response to “Media Interview Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Very nice and good to read article.

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