the weekend, I caught a few minutes of CNN’s “State of the Union” hosted by
John King. On one of the segments, he interviewed Bill Bennett, formerly
President George H.W. Bush’s drug czar (1989-1990) and commentator Donna
Brazile about the passing of columnist Bob Novak among other current events.
Bennett confessed that he didn’t like Novak very much but did concede that the
man was a great reporter.
was most interesting to me was the compliment Bennett paid Novak when he said
that the columnist often got his subjects to say more than they’d originally
intended during an interview. This really jumped out at me and being the
conscientious blogger that I am (!) I thought of all of you.
of the worst mistakes an interview subject can make is to believe that a
reporter (or producer) is your friend. A two-word mantra comes to mind here:
“It’s business.” And, boy, is it ever. Your job as a publicist is to guide your
client into an interview that could go awry at anytime. Do I sound negative?
Good. Because without proper media training (which doesn’t have to be a long
and drawn out process) your client could be in the unenviable position of not
only wanting to eat his words but retrieve them for the rest of his life.
I offer a media training workshop in about a minute and a half, because that
might be the only amount of time available. One of the best ways to train for
this, of course, is to watch the news as a student, not as an exhausted person
who’s just come home from work and wants to go to sleep.
are in the market for information, data that people won’t necessarily get
elsewhere. Look, we all know that, though, don’t we? And yes, we want to be the
ones who provide the info, but if we don’t give our clients some parameters
(what never to say, for instance), then we’re not doing our jobs.