Media interviews are important opportunities to communicate the good news about the Christian gospel, and about the Church and its vital role in every community in the land.
To make the best of the opportunity, consider the points below:
Why am I doing this interview?
Always have in mind why you are giving the interview and what it is you would like to communicate, via the media, to the wider world. Only give an interview if you know what you want to say. Work with the Communications Team on which interviews to undertake, and on what basis.
If you issue a press release, or are involved in a running news story, make sure that the Communications Team (and the Comms Office in Westminster) can contact you - preferably via a mobile phone.
Below are a few techniques employed by reporters:
The friendly approach
Just because a reporter is friendly, does not alter the fact that they are after a story that will compete with others to win airtime or newspaper space. This may not be the one you had in mind!
A reporter may well empathise with your position, but the news desk may not. They could revise the reporter's work extensively.
The small piece of knowledge
One practice is to take a small piece of information that is already available, such as the pre-publication blurb for a forthcoming Synod report, and use that to suggest s/he is already privy to the content of the report. This is used to make you feel you are not giving away anything not already known.
The long conversation
When a reporter gets you talking at length about various subjects, it usually means there is something they really want to know about. If they keep you talking long enough, you may let something slip in conversation when they get to that point. Some journalists imply they are working on a profile interview, when they are fishing for a topical quote for a news story.
The urgent need for comment
Journalists work to deadlines. If a journalist is in a hurry for comment, set your own deadline that fits but allows you time to think before speaking. Say you will call back in five/ten minutes, but make sure you do.
Feeding the inflammatory line
Used to get you to deny something you would not have mentioned otherwise, and to encourage you to repeat the inflammatory phrase, or to agree to the phrase used by the journalist so they can use it in a quote.
When being interviewed, don't feel the need to fill silent gaps. Avoiding silence is the interviewer's job and filling gaps for the interviewer may well lead to journeys down unnecessary paths. This is true for broadcast and print journalists.
Just because you have agreed to be interviewed on one subject, does not mean the interviewer cannot bring up another subject. Always be aware of what is in the news and that you may be asked about something. Be prepared to turn down the opportunity to respond if you feel under-prepared.
The forgotten comment
Just because something you say does not appear in a story tomorrow, does not mean it will not appear in a story later.
Never get flustered by an outright attack. Remain calm and stick to your planned responses.
Is this 'on the record?'
Work on the basis that it always is...
If you have any further questions or require support, don't hesitate to contact the team.