You may find yourself being requested an interview by a media outlet. Below are a few tips we all feel each other should keep in mind when speaking to the media:
- REPRESENT YOURSELF (only): In this particular case, make it clear you speak only for yourself and from your perspective not for the movement as a whole.
- BE CLEAR AND CONCISE: Be clear on 2 or 3 main messages you want to get across and try and bring them up repeatedly in your answers to questions. See what others are saying
- WORDING MATTERS: Be aware of how what you are saying could be misquoted or misinterpreted (“rising up” and “uprising” might come across slightly differently)
- TARGET AUDIENCE: Think about your audience. For example, you may want to focus on how the movement is relevant to the concerns of students.
- INVITE OTHERS: Invite the media to interview other people. If they ask a question that you aren’t comfortable answering, or don’t think you have a good answer, or if you simply want more time to think, the perfect deadpan is “That’s a good question. There are lots of people here, and I’m a participant like anyone else, so you could ask someone else that question.”
- BE PRO-CHANGE, NOT ANTI-SYSTEM: Don’t get caught saying you’re against capitalism or against government, even if that’s what you actually think (it’s easy to misconstrue that as an anarchist anti-system claim). Clearly articulate that the major problem is lack of government control on corporations, and too much corporate control on government. Or direct to a problem that you are knowledgeable about, based on personal experience. Given that the movement is diverse and welcomes all voices, you are free to say at any point “That’s not why I’m here. I’m here to talk about __________” (be it aboriginal rights, the homelessness issue, food security, corporate media, banking systems, government bailouts, environmental issues, etcetera).
- AVOID BLANKET STATEMENTS: Resist pressure to conform to one general statement. Point out that historic social movements were also very diverse, but our historical perspective simply enforces a single coherent view on historical social movements. Remind the media that it is a diverse crowd with diverse issues, and talk on whatever you feel comfortable talking on.
- THANK THEM FOR OPPORTUNITY: Thank them for taking the time to speak with you at both beginning and end. Be polite, courteous, put your best face forward, even if you don’t like the media or don’t think highly of the institution. Do your best!
- HAVE FUN!This movement is about all of us, but it’s also about you, and speaking with the media is a chance to get that across.
If you’re interested in a preset media interview, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org