Tips on Working with News Media

Working with media can be a very rewarding part of the Michigan Tech news process. But if the thought of going “on the record” stresses you out, never fear: these helpful guidelines will make the process a breeze.

General

  • Reporters are usually on a deadline, so call them back right away.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask to see the interview questions in advance.
  • Gather facts, figures and anecdotes to support your points.
  • Do not be offended if an interview gets canceled or rescheduled.
  • If you want someone from University Marketing & Communications to help you prepare for the interview, just call 487-4521or 487-2343.  Give us as much notice as possible.

During the Interview

  • Avoid academic or technical jargon.
  • Be concise, but speak in complete thoughts.
  • Make one or two clear, simple points and repeat them. This is the take-home message. It is all that most people will remember from an interview.
  • If you don’t understand a question, or you don’t have an answer, say so. Offer to get back to them with an answer.
  • Avoid saying anything "off the record."

Tips for Broadcast Media

  • For television interviews, wear solid-color clothing and avoid jewelry.
  • Screen out extraneous noises and avoid nervous habits (such as pen tapping).
  • Pause briefly before answering a question.
  • In interviews that are going to be edited, not live, it's okay to start over again if you don't like the way you worded your answer.  Most interviews are edited. That’s why 20 minutes with the reporter turns into 20 seconds on TV.

After the Interview

  • Ask to be identified as being affiliated with Michigan Technological University (if they say the institution’s name is too long, tell them to say Michigan Tech).
  • If you misspoke or gave incorrect information, call the reporter as soon as possible and let him or her know.
  • Give positive feedback to reporters if you can, after a story appears.
  • Call us at 487-4521 or 487-2343 to let us know when you've done an interview, so that we can track down clippings or tapes of your story. If you have a clipping or tape, please share a copy with us.