Journalists are constantly looking for experts for their stories. They can add an authoritative voice and provide background and analysis on any given topic. It’s not as difficult as you may think to become a go-to person for print journalists and broadcasters. You will see the same people being invited onto the breakfast shows and news bulletins again and again. If you do well once your details will be banked for the next time your expertise is required.
For universities, getting your academics in the media can highlight your institution as well as your research but there are some key points to bear in mind.
Rethink the soundbite
Academics by definition are experts in their field and have a wealth of knowledge about certain topics, but when the media needs a quick soundbite academics need to know how to distil complex topics into media friendly sentences. It’s important to lose the jargon and think about what the reader and viewer really want to hear from you. Ask yourself – why am I being interviewed? Be as clear and concise as possible.
Practice, practice, practice
Print and online interviews are easier than a live broadcast but it’s good to get as much practice in as possible. Think about all the possible questions you may be asked and prepare your responses to them. There are times when you can speak “off the record” and “on background” and your quotes should not be attributed to you at those times.
It’s good to keep on top of the news agenda and to react quickly when there is a story in the media that you know you can comment on with authority. Expert interviews are not about grilling you about what you don’t know but about you showcasing what you do know. Put yourself forward via your press office for media interviews when you know you are the best person to comment.
Get some training
It’s important to be as relaxed and natural as possible when speaking on camera and broadcast training can help with this. There are all kinds of tips and techniques you can practice ahead of a media interview, whether it is “live down the line” or pre-recorded in a studio or your office.
At Nine Media, we offer specialist training for academics on dealing with the media, getting your stories into the press, interview practice and on air techniques and we can tailor our courses so that we can cover exactly what you need. Get in touch for more information.
Here’s what previous clients have to say:
“We commissioned Nine Media because of their impressive focus on specifically training academics to improve the quality of their print, radio and TV interviews. The depth of their knowledge and experience – combined with a practical approach to interview technique – ensured that those who took part in the training left feeling confident, informed and enthused about working with the media.”
Owen Morris, former PR and Media Manager, London South Bank University
“A really enjoyable day – friendly, interesting and helpful.”
Tracey Devonport, Reader in Sport & Exercise Psychology, University of Wolverhampton
“Excellent – very useful.”
Coral Dando, Professor of Psychology, University of Wolverhampton