For Faculty & Staff

Using a media specialist

If you’re concerned about an interview, contact the media specialist who covers your academic area. You can ask the media specialist for advice. You can even ask the reporter to do the interview in your office with the media specialist sitting in.

If you are dealing with a controversial topic, a media specialist can help you come up with talking points that can be distributed to others who may be called upon to answer the same questions. Stick to the talking points, and everyone will say the same thing.

After you’ve given an interview, let the media specialist who covers your academic area know so that he or she can keep an eye out for it to appear in print or broadcast.

Find a media specialist

Media training

Let us help you prepare for interactions with the media. Whether you are getting ready for an interview for print, television, or radio, our staff can help you communicate your message.

Media training is available for individuals and small groups. To schedule a media training session, please contact the media specialist who covers your academic area.

Interview tips

Call back promptly

Reporters are often on a tight deadline, but this doesn’t mean you have to carve out time for a full interview immediately. You should be able to ask for 30 minutes to pull your thoughts together or arrange to call back after you finish teaching your class. And about those deadlines? Find out when the reporter is expected to turn in his or her story, and work accordingly.

Ask your own questions

Find out what information the reporter is looking for and what information he or she has already gathered. This will help you determine how well-versed the reporter may or may not already be on the subject and how much detail you should provide for your interview. Also, ask how this information will be used. Is the reporter looking just for a comment on an issue for a news brief? Or, is he or she needing extensive background information for a longer feature story?

Refer another expert

You're an expert, but are you the right one? Determine whether you are the most knowledgeable and responsible person to deal with the subject. While good reporters will have done their own research on the issue they are reporting, and will have spent some time locating the expert they want to speak with, you may discover that you aren't really the best person to give the interview. If you can, suggest another IU expert.

Make notes about the points you want to cover

This will help you avoid rambling or wandering off subject. This is especially important for a television or radio interview, as quotes used in this format will be very short, so you need to communicate important information as succinctly as possible. Your notes can also help you bring the reporter back around to the most important information if he or she gets off track.

Pay attention to what you’re wearing

You want to be sure that you are presenting a professional image to the public. Avoid wearing anything that would take attention away from what you have to say.

Avoid saying “no comment”

In nearly all circumstances, it is better to manage a situation by facing it head-on and providing the information that you are at liberty to give. "No comment" sounds as if you have something to hide. If you can't really say anything, explain that it would be inappropriate for you to comment and that you are working on pulling together that information. If you don't provide the correct information when it is available, a good reporter will get it from someone else. And then, what gets printed may not be the version you want to see.