Preparing for a media interview - tips from Clearview Communications

15 tips to help you prepare for a media interview


Find out what others in your organization are saying, and be consistent with the organization’s views. Your Public Affairs Office or Marketing Department can help with clips and other background materials.



Determine the audience who will be reading the story, watching or listening to the broadcast.


Develop key messages. Tailor your key messages for that audience, remembering that often you will want to speak to multiple audiences.


Develop talking points to support your main points. Keep in mind the limitations of the medium as you prepare. Radio and television don’t allow for as much detail as newspapers and magazines.


Gather necessary background materials. Select handouts for the reporter.


Find out about the reporter’s style, reputation and past coverage. Have they been fair and accurate?


Role-play and rehearse. Have someone ask you the tough questions


Prepare to treat the interview as a presentation that will be interrupted by questions.


Select an interview venue you can control, if possible.


Set a time limit, preferably less than 15 minutes.


Practice delivering your key messages and using bridging techniques to get them into the conversation.


Take a few minutes before starting the interview to build personal rapport with the reporter, no matter the venue.


Feel free to ask about the subject areas the reporter will probably cover.


It’s OK to ask what other sources the reporter has spoken with or will use.


Never ask to read the story before publication. But it is OK to ask if they know when it will be aired or published.

Andrew Bowen, APR

Andrew Bowen (Accredited in Public Relations) is one of the most seasoned, experienced and trusted PR professionals in the nation. Bowen has four decades of experience in the communications industry as a newspaper reporter and editor, political press secretary, government public information officer, advertising/public relations agency executive, author, crisis communications counselor, executive media interview coach, and firm owner.

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