News interviews, whether newspaper, TV, radio, or internet, are all about the answers to some basic questions: who, what, when, where, and why. Some reporters are more direct than others in seeking answers to these questions, however most reporters, in one form or another, are trying to get the basic points of the story.
Some tips for newspaper reporters:
- Be friendly and courteous.
- Ask when their deadline is. Many newspaper reporters have to write stories for websites, so their deadlines may be very tight.
- If a reporter calls and begins asking questions and you are not prepared to do an interview at that moment, don’t hesitate to say you’re busy and ask if you can call back. Then be sure to do so. It is also helpful to ask the reporter, “what is the focus of your story?” and “what is your deadline?” This information will help you prepare for your interview.
- Although they may ask you several questions and take lots of notes, chances are only a couple of your quotes will actually appear in their story.
- When answering reporters’ questions, think about what points you want to emphasize or what you want the reporter to really focus on; repeat your key points. This way, you have a better chance of having the key points appear in the story.
- Avoid asking them to tell you their questions ahead of time; also, it’s not a good idea to ask to see their story when they’re done writing.
- At the end of the interview, you may be asked if you want to add anything. Always take this opportunity to briefly repeat your most important points.