At first, the proposition of accepting a television interview might be a little intimidating. The thought of answering questions with the unblinking eye of the TV camera probing your very soul can make you curl up in the fetal position sucking your thumb.
Why is that? Probably because we’ve all seen those walk and talk interviews of TV reporters that ambush an individual in a hallway or parking lot hammering them with a series of short, blunt questions that leave them dazed and confused.
The truth is most TV interviews are nothing like that. In fact, while there are certainly exceptions, I would say the majority of the stories on a local TV newscast are informational or even feature stories. The investigative stories definitely have their place in the newsroom, after all, the news media is supposed to be a watchdog of sorts. But those types of stories can take a lot of resources in time, staff and even staying legally clean. In a time when budgets are tight, it’s pursued less than you think.
Usually, a local newscast is made up of essentially four types of stories.
First, spot news (fires, murders, etc.), next information about events past, present, and future, then there’s investigative pieces and lastly sprinkled in to temper the rest of the neutral to negative content are light interesting features. They’re sometimes called a ‘kicker’ placed at the end of a newscast to keep a viewer from slitting their wrists with all the death and destruction news they saw earlier.
So let’s take you and your organization out of the spot news category…hopefully you aren’t part of the murder, fire, death, and destruction scene. That leaves an informational piece about a job fair, new business coming into town with new jobs, etc. Or a feature story regarding something you or your organization is involved in. The investigative type is, of course, always a possibility, but unless you’re embroiled in a freshly revealed scandal, this is not likely.
Coming up in the next few weeks will be a series on the three reasons you should say yes to a TV interview…or maybe find yourself pitching a TV story yourself.
Steve Linscomb worked in the news media for 28 years. He currently serves as an official spokesperson for a public school district in the San Antonio metro area and is a freelance writer.