Handling The Media - extracts from our book

What to ask the journalist when an enquiry lands

Mentor's published book on Handling The Media has given hundreds of our delegates many handy tips to think about during and after their media training.

We're currently updating this handy guide, so look out for it in the coming months. Here's an extract;

Preparing you for any media engagement is our bread and butter, but there are some simple things you should consider if an enquiry comes in from a journalist, whether by phone, email or, uncommonly, a knock on the door.







Questions you should ask

It is important to know which of the above types of interview you may face, and to find out as much as you can about the interviewer’s agenda before you agree to talk at length. In organisations with PR departments or agencies, much of this triaging will occur on your behalf, but it’s worth bearing these queries in mind, in the event you receive a direct, unsolicited enquiry from a journalist. It’s your only chance to turn the tables before an interview.

 For all media:

• What’s your angle on this story?

• What exactly do you want to know from me?

• Who else are you talking to?

If it’s a broadcast interview:

• Which programme? (Who is the audience?)

• Will it be live or recorded?

• Studio, location, down-the-line or telephone?

• Are others taking part?

• How long will the transmitted interview be?

• What topics will be covered?

• Can you give me an idea of the first question?

(WARNING: the first question is usually a warm-up, depending on the time available, and your most feared, worst question, may be their final one, hidden usually somewhere up their sleeve! It’s the; “And just while I’ve got you here minister,” question.)



Article Author: Dave Mason

Dave is Mentor Media Training's Managing Director. He is a CIPR Accredited Practitioner and regularly trains for the PR industry institute. His extensive career in broadcasting spans 30 years across radio and television. He has coached executives from major public and private sector organisations, as well as the UK Armed Forces/NATO, around the world for the past decade. Dave is respected for his inspiring training, which is supportive and concentrates on fast learning development. A founding presenter and shareholder of Somerset’s Orchard FM, he went on to work extensively in commercial radio around the UK, as well as BBC News, where he was a Correspondent at BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 1 Newsbeat. Dave has been a TV presenter, reporter and producer at ITN, GMTV, (ITV Breakfast), ITV News Westcountry and HTV West. He was one of GMTV’s senior producers for a decade, covering major international, domestic, political and entertainment stories. His roles have included senior news producing and planning, undercover investigations, war reporting and features production. He still broadcasts as a crisis communications pundit on LBC, BBC Radio and is a visiting lecturer at the Universities of Bath Spa, Gloucestershire and the Cardiff School of Journalism. He is the author of 'Handling the Media In Good Times & Bad'.