Any interview with a journalist is an opportunity which you must take advantage of. That means being in control of the situation and not being led by the journalist’s agenda.
Taking control starts well before the interview happens. Make sure that you,or your communications team, do your homework about the journalist and the news organisation. What’s their reputation? Do they tend to be accurate and fair? What’s their angle? Who else are they speaking to about this story?
This is all basic preparation but a surprisingly large number of people in the news don’t bother to ask these important questions.
Be in control during the interview as well. Make sure that you get across what you want to say. But don’t deliver a prepared speech, regardless of the questions. You will sound like a politician and be a big turn-off for the public.
If you do this basic preparation, you will increase the chances of getting reasonably fair and accurate coverage. That’s probably the best you can hope for because there is a lot of bad journalism out there as well as badly prepared interviewees.
But if it does work out well you will almost certainly have persuaded or re-asssured people and enhanced your reputation.
Neil Bennett has worked as a BBC correspondent in crime, home affairs, sport and health.