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After the Interview

By Al Rothstein

Call it insecurity, call it nervousness. What some people say and do after a Q&A session with a reporter can be surprising. In my reporter days, people would occasionally take the opportunity to tell a joke or make an off-the-cuff remark when they thought the camera was off. That can be a big mistake. Remember that what you do or say after the Q&A can be just as important as the initial interview.

Here are some rules to live by as your session with the reporter concludes:

  1. Thanking the reporter. Don't thank him or her "for the publicity". A reporter's job is not to give you publicity, but to find the most interesting aspect of the story. Instead, wait until the story runs and if you feel it's appropriate, write a note thanking them for being fair.
  2. The interview is never really over, even after you think the camera has stopped rolling. The photojournalist usually shoots "cutaway" questions after the Q&A. This is for background video. So it's not a good idea to laugh, tell a joke, or make an off-the-cuff remark. That is how the wrong kind of news is made.
  3. Any questions? Ask the reporter if he/she has any more questions, particularly if you are dealing with technology or other complicated issues. Y2K is a good example. This will allow you another chance to make sure the reporter is accurate, and it shows the reporter that you want to help.
  4. Offer sources that will support your cause. Normally, print reporters will be more open to this. Broadcast reporters may not have as much time in their stories to devote to another sources.
  5. Offer to provide visuals. This is important for both broadcast and print interviews. It helps both the reporter and you emphasize your point. It also tells the reporter that you are aware of their needs. This should also be done before the interview; however, new issues may come up during an interview that are important to illustrate.

Remember that you are leaving the reporter with an impression. If you are positive and cooperative the reporter will give more credibility to what you say. If you are defensive the reporter may think you have something to hide.

Courtesy of Al Rothstein Media Services, Inc.,
specialists in spokesperson training and media relations seminars.

Phone: 1-800-453-6352   E-mail:

See also:

Getting the Most from Interviews
Guidelines for successful interviews
Off the Record
Backing it Up
Involve Your Audience During TV Interviews
Oh, the Mistakes Spokespeople Make: Ten Sure-Fire Ways to Blow an Interview
When Bad Things Happen to Good Spokespeople: Handling Tough Interviews
Meeting the Media Face-to-Face
Sources Media Training