investigative reporters and programs and will decline
to accept interview invitations from those sources. On
the other hand, there are some media (mainly trade
publications) which will present a copy of the draft
interview article for correction by the interviewee.
Unfortunately, this practice is rare.
Television Interview Tips
As covered before, the senior journalist is called
upon to provide media training to individuals scheduled
to represent the command in a television interview,
Media training simply means conveying certain
interview tips to the interviewee to make sure the
interview is a success. This section covers the following
television interview tips: appearance, eye wear, eye
contact and the use of the interviewers first name.
APPEARANCE. If the interview is in a television
studio, have the interviewee wear either the service
dress blue or summer white uniform. These are the most
recognizable Navy uniforms and look best on television,
If the interviewee is wearing summer whites, make sure
he takes a fresh shirt to the studio and changes just
before the interview to avoid a wrinkled look. Have the
interviewee remove his name tag because they glare or
shine under television lighting.
After the lavaliere microphone is placed on the tie
or shirt, make sure the tie or shirt is straight. The
microphone should be inside the coat or blouse so it does
not show. The interviewee should not wear a large
blouse or too many rings, which also shine under the
lights and distract the television audience. The uniform
of the day is acceptable if the interview is held aboard a
naval unit or facility.
Be sure the interviewee uses makeup to help control
perspiration and glare. A small amount of makeup is
normally applied by television station personnel.
Of course, make sure the interviewee has a fresh
haircut and is clean shaven (if male).
EYEWEAR. If the interviewee normally wears
glasses but chooses not to wear them during the
interview, make sure he takes them off about 20 minutes
before the interview. This allows the eyes to adjust to
the set and lights. Makeup may be needed on the nose
where glasses sit.
EYE CONTACT. Most of the time the inter-
viewee looks directly into the camera when answering
a question. Tell him to look at the interviewer, not the
camera, during the interview. The obvious exception is
the remote interview.
USE OF FIRST NAME. If the interviewee knows
the interviewer and feels natural using his first name, it
is perfectly acceptable. If the interviewee feels a need to
be more formal, then he should use the hosts last name.
General Interview Tips
Include the following interview tips in your media
training regimen to get the most out of every interview:
Relax and be yourself.
Tell the truth, even if it is painful.
Never say no comment. If you cannot discuss
something because of an ongoing investigation
or because it is classified, explain as much as you
can. If additional information is requested, make
an effort to get back to the reporter.
If you do not know the answer to a question, say
so. Offer to get back later with the answer, if
As in news releases, avoid military or technical
jargon. Always remember the target audience-
the American public.
Answer questions directly and give the bottom
line up front. Amplification, if needed, may be
Correct the record. If a reporter makes an error
or has wrong information, politely correct him
during the interview.
Listen carefully to the reporter. Ask for repetition
or clarification if necessary.
Maintain eye contact. Make sure the reporter
knows you are interested and paying attention.
Be expressive and try to be interesting.
Be humorous, if appropriate. Humor is one of the
best forms of communication.
Maintain a positive attitude.
Be prepared to answer the five Ws: Who, What,
Where, When, Why and How.
Always assume that you are on the air, even if
you are told that you are off. Technical crews
Be modest and confident. You are the expert, but
do not be condescending.