One thing that is helpful to know going into an interview with a reporter is what to expect in the end from the piece.
Here are just my thoughts from being on both sides.
- Don’t expect this to be a public relations piece. Reporters are supposed to be trained to gather and explain the truth. I know that’s harder to believe these days with some of the less than factual reporting that’s been documented over the last several years, but there are still journalists with integrity. But their job is not necessarily to write a PR story about how great your company or organization is. That may come through in the end, but the mission for the reporter should be to, above all, be factual and balanced with the pros and cons of the story. Keep in mind if there is any emotion tied to the story, they will go after that as well. That’s where the stumbling block can come in for the reporter. Some have fixated on the emotion and ended up allowing themselves to be swept away with a great story that only has a few elements of truth in it.
“Don’t Expect A PR Piece.”
- Expect a balanced piece from the interview. Don’t be afraid of talking about challenges that you have as long as you can explain how you’re addressing them. Showing that you or your organization is not perfect, makes you more believable and credible. It goes back to the pros and cons being brought into the light of the story.
- Expect a fair piece from the interview. Know that not everything you say can be used, so they must use clips or quotes because they have time or space restrictions. However, the reporter should be fair-minded in how they are used in the telling of the story. This includes how quotes are used in the narration by the reporter, their use of syntax and phrases that can produce a feeling or connotation.
If you don’t think the story was fair, then the reporter and possibly their supervisor need to know. But if you do that, just be sure that the elements on which you are taking them to task are itemized and reasonable.