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“Being interviewed is like playing Russian roulette. You never know which question will kill you.”

That is the impression most PR specialists have when they deal with a crisis and they have to answer press questions. Today I’m going to note do’s and do not’s for media interviews, from Crisis Communications A Casebook Approach written by Fern Banks.

Do’s for Media Interviews

  • do listen to the whole question before answering
  • do use everyday language, not the jargon of your business or profession
  • do maintain an attitude showing you are calm, courteous, responsive, direct, positive, truthful, concerned and if necessary, repentant and apologetic
  • do understand the reporter’s job, respect deadlines and return phone calls promptly
  • do be accessible and pleasant
  • do try to treat the reporter as a partner, an ally in maintaining or restoring the company’s good image
  • do tell the truth, the whole truth, misleading or omitted facts are also forms of lying
  • do look the reporter in the eye
  • do you your Crisis Communication Plan
  • do keep employees informed of the crisis, they may be volunteer spokespersons.

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Do not’s for Media Interviews

  • do not be a wimp, being concerned and empathetic does not mean that you must shake in your boots
  • do not guess or speculate, either you know or you don’t
  • do not get overly upset about being quoted out of context
  • do not play favorites with media
  • do not pull advertising from a newspaper because reporters are not cooperative
  • do not consider your news release “golden”, if it is written well with real news, you have done the best you can do
  • do not stick to  a story if it has changed, just to be consistent because media realize that things change
  • do not be trapped into predicting the future
  • do not wear sunglasses or chew gum
  • do not smoke – unless you are in a place such as Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where the economy is based on cigarette sales and smoking is a way of live.

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Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

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Comments on: "Crisis management – do’s and do not’s for media interviews" (3)

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  2. […] ago, I wrote an article about do’s and do not’s for media interviews, from Crisis Communications A Casebook […]

  3. Some of my all-time favorite DOs:
    – Do try to hold yourself from smashing the face of that intrusive, wanna-know-it-all, bastard reporter;
    – Do use an effective antiperspirant product before a crisis media interview. Those press freaks might make you sweat your shirt off.

    And some serious DON’Ts:
    – Don’t hit on reporters by saying “Nice ass you got there, lil’ momma”. Seen it, done it, not good!
    – Don’t lose it by bursting into tears or insane laughter or you’ll end up in the loony bin.

    Otherwise, any of those mentioned by you apply. Would be nice if the PR community read them once in a while…

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