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Public Affairs

Special Notes

Special notes for science/research stories:

  1. Start with the results -- the bottom line.
  2. Assume the reporter has no scientific background.
  3. Use examples and analogies.
  4. Humanize the research.
  5. Avoid scientific terms, academic jargon.
  6. Offer to review the story for technical accuracy (not style or content changes). 

Special notes for radio and TV interviews:

  1. Learn all you can about the program. Is it live? Will there be call-ins? If there’s time, watch or listen to help you prepare.
  2. Ignore the monitor and keep your eyes where you’re told (usually the interviewer)
  3. Don’t swivel or rock in your chair.
  4. Ask for a glass of water.
  5. Keep your eyes and head steady; don’t jiggle keys or play with jewelry.
  6. TV — Dress appropriately:
    * Dark business suit (sit on the jacket) or dress
    * Avoid stripes and shiny materials
    * Women: watch skirt length
    * Men: watch sock length
    * No glittery jewelry or dark glasses
    * Sit up straight and lean slightly toward interviewer.
  7. Be brief. Average TV sound bite is 9 seconds.
  8. Be mindful of cut-away shots. You may still be on camera after the interview.
  9. Always assume the microphone is on!!!
  10. If there are equipment problems, just relax and review your notes.
  11. Speak in complete sentences and in context. The question may not be heard.
  12. Make sure you give Clemson credit in your comments. Say, “at Clemson we . . .” or “research at Clemson shows . . . “

Special notes for a hostile interview:

  1. Don’t argue with the reporter or with a third-party through the reporter.
  2. Don’t get personal, and don’t take it personally.
  3. Body language is important: Be authoritative, display appropriate concern but with a positive outlook. “We are in control.”
  4. Watch for the following techniques:
    * Questions use negative, inflammatory words. Don’t repeat them.
    * Rapid-fire questions. Select one and answer.
    * Interruptions. Be polite but assertive. Ask for the opportunity to answer.
    * A/B dilemma. If it’s neither, say so.
    * Stating an untruth as fact. Correct the error, then answer the question.
    * Misquoting a previous answer. Same as above.
    * Friendly chit-chat during commercial breaks after hostile questions. Don’t be distracted.

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