Interviews are full of unknowns, which can be anxiety-inducing. In most cases, you will not know exactly what questions will be asked or the whole story a journalist is planning to write. However, by doing a little homework, you can remove some unknowns and feel more prepared for your interview.
First, research what else the reporter has written or broadcast on your topic. Was it well-informed and fair? Was it perhaps ill-informed or biased? Must-knows heading into a preliminary conversation before the interview.
Next, any legitimate reporter should be open to answering a few questions—especially questions designed to put you at ease about their credibility or their purpose. Ask the reporter what he or she wants you to contribute, who else has been or will be interviewed, clarify the reporter’s deadline, and learn when the story is expected to publish.
Before any interview…
- Ask for story angle in advance – while most reporters won’t provide a complete list of questions in advance, you will be able to get an idea of the types of questions they will be asking if you seek out the angle they are looking for on the story.
- Familiarize yourself with the reporter’s past work – especially any previous coverage of your company or issue.
- Brainstorm other questions they may ask – don’t forget to include the ones you’d rather not hear – and then prepare answers for every question.
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