From the experts: Hear straight from editors on what makes or breaks an interview.
January 8th, 2021

By now you have heard about best tips and tricks for a successful interview. But are they really what the media wants? Straight from the leading print editors on what they wish you knew prior to the interview.

Print

Ray Brewer: Editor in Chief, Las Vegas Sun

“An interview subject can’t be shy. They need to be willing to talk about themselves or business. The more details, the easier it is to write.

Also, be available. You would be shocked at how many times we get a story pitch, take the PR firm up on the pitch, and then the subject is massively difficult to coordinate with.

Lastly, be super thorough. Don’t assume the reporter has institutional knowledge on the company or product. Most reporters don’t specialize in niche things, such as tech coverage, or law coverage, or medicine. Newsrooms mostly rely on reporters who can handle a variety of topics, meaning they are being educated on the topic while reporter.

But the time thing is most important. Don’t make the reporter wait around, or don’t cancel. There are deadlines to hit and pages to fill. They are counting on the interview and have to answer to an editor. And that editor likely already has the story booked for publication.”

Tarah Richardson: Editor in Chief, Nevada Business Magazine

“It’d be helpful for people to have a better understanding of the difference in the types of media outlets they’re likely to encounter and to be aware of which type they are speaking to. For example, as a monthly business publication, I am just looking for good/helpful information for my readers. Some interview subjects think I’m always on the hunt for some scandal or scoop which I am definitely not. Even if they slip up in the interview and say something they shouldn’t, I wouldn’t use it. Daily pubs or other types of media might be looking for that type of interview, however, so knowing who you’re talking to is important.

Some people are born speaking fluent “PR” and use adjectives like they are salt on an incredibly boring dish. I want good information and that usually doesn’t include overly flowery descriptions. In fact, they can distract from the good information I’m actually trying to get to.

It’s completely fine to ask for topics/questions ahead of time. Most reputable outlets won’t let you see the story before it publishes but they might read you the quotes they used from you if a) there’s time and b) you’re overly concerned and have had an issue with being misquoted before.

Just be honest and answer the questions simply. Interviewers don’t bite.”



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