Humboldt State University
Marketing and Communications
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Media Relations

Interview Tips

In general, following this three-step procedure will ensure a great interview:

1. Listen to the question
2. Answer concisely
3. Deliver your message

Here are few more tips to help you with the interview process:

Be Prepared

Prepare thoroughly, marshal all the relevant facts before the interview. Your top priority is being well-informed.


Think ahead. Do you know the reporter or is (s)he a stranger? If it's your first encounter, remember you’re starting to build a long-term relationship.

Have a message

Jot down 3 to 5 points, and repeat them several times when answering questions. Repetition is essential to getting key points across.

Anticipate questions

Think of the 10 most difficult questions and prepare your message points. If during the interview you lack an answer, say so and tell the reporter you'll get back to her promptly with the pertinent information.

Define, don't defend

Make your points positively.

Be factual

Don't guess, don't ad lib. Remember, the reporter may have the answers. Always be ready to say, "I don’t know."

Be brief

Don’t take five minutes to give a 20-second answer. Think headlines and soundbites.

Avoid jargon

Academia is nearly as (in)famous as the government with jargon. Drop the alphabet soup and speak plainly.

Think interview, not conversation

You're informing the public, making a case, not engaging in dialogue.

Pace yourself

Let the reporter keep the interview moving. Filling time and space will cause you to digress from the facts and take you off message.

Don't speculate

Deal in facts, not conjecture.

Be confident

You are well-informed. State your points with authority.

Avoid "no comment"

If you cannot address a subject, explain why. Be brief and to the point.

Rely on the communications staff in Marketing & Communications

They are professionals and glad to help you prepare.