Thursday, June 28, 2012

PR Tips: Two Media Interview Lessons

This morning on CNN's "Starting Point" program, Soledad O'Brien was interviewing Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) about the Supreme Court's then pending healthcare law ruling announcement. It piqued my interest because Senator Schumer used two smart media interview tactics:
  1. Avoid repeating the negative - At one point O'Brien was asking about what people should consider as the main reason for low support for the healthcare reform law. She asked Schumer if he'd consider it a "failure of message" to which the senator replied, "I wouldn't call it that. I would say..." This is a smart and simple approach to a leading negative comment by the interviewer. Don't repeat the negative and give the media that sound bite. Use the opportunity to bridge on to what you need to say for clarification of message.
  2. Avoid speculations - I bit later in the interview O'Brian was trying to get the senator to talk about what he thought would happen if the Supreme Court ruled against all or part of the law. Schumer initially wouldn't take the bait and opted not to speculate on live TV about next steps. This was probably a result of the Schumer being pretty adept as a politician conducting himself with media. (He later went ahead and talked in general terms about what steps might be taken politically.) It's still a good idea to avoid speculations for anyone being interviewed by the media if ask about an area or possible scenarios that you do not fully know or can share. For goodness' sake, don't guess
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