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How to show up prepared for your news interview

By Marjorie Comer

Ace an in-person news interview by following these PR pro tips


A person setting up a camera for an interview.Whether you are doing a live, in-studio interview or an interview on Zoom or Skype, you must prepare for it. For in-person news interviews, these are the best ways to prepare before arrival and on the day of the interview.




Audio: Listen to this article.


Prior to arrival

  • Name: Send in your name as you would like it to appear on-screen during the interview, and include your name’s phonetic pronunciation. 
    • For example, my name is MAR-jor-ee Co-mer. 
    • Sending your name helps the producer prepare the chyron graphics (electronically generated captions superimposed on the screen) before your arrival. 
    • Your name and its pronunciation also helps the reporter, anchor, or DJ know how to say your name.
    • Don’t forget to include any titles you want them to address you with.
  • Topics: Provide three to five talking points associated with your topic. 
  • This will help the anchor formulate questions. 
  • PRO TIP: Anchors have little time to do any of their own research because they quickly hop from segment to segment, so background information is helpful.
  • Visuals: Humans like visuals, so visual stories attract more attention. Share any event information, images, graphics, statistics, and material that could serve as an on-screen visual.
  • Rehearse: Practice your key messages before your interview. 
  • Keep your talking points small so consumers can “digest” them in small pieces and easily remember them. 
  • Practice speaking in front of a mirror; it might help you notice where you are less confident (where you may say “um” and “uh”).


Day of interview

    • Clothing: While solid, bright colors show up best on camera, consider researching your color type and dressing according to that (For example, light pinks, royal, and light blues wash me out, so I wouldn't wear those colors). You don’t want to appear sick on TV. In addition, certain colors portray certain perceptions. Experienced interviewees know to bring two outfits. This way, you have a Plan B if there’s an accident, and if the interviewer wears similar colors, you can graciously offer to change into something different.
    • Items: Bring everything you will need for your display. This includes any props and products you want to show off. Consider preparing and packing everything the day before to ensure you don’t forget anything.
  • Arrive: Be sure to arrive 20 to 30 minutes before your scheduled time. This allows you to ensure you park in the correct location, enter through the correct door, and use the restroom prior to your segment. Some shows will have you call a phone number when you arrive. Be certain you allow time for all these things.

If you are participating in an interview on Zoom, review these tips prior to the interview. News interviews can seem daunting, but they don’t have to be if you prepare. Download our Learn Media Relations from The Media e-book for additional tips on interacting and connecting with the media.


Marjorie Comer.Clients love Marjorie’s work ethic, speed and diligence. She has worked with Axia Public Relations since October 2011. Marjorie graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and loves to cheer for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Learn more about Marjorie.


Photo by Korie Cull on Unsplash

Topics: earned media, news media

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