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You and the Broadcast Media
Why should they want to talk to you?
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 by Andrew Harvey

Andrew HarveyYou are very important to the broadcasters. You can lend a report authority by agreeing to a pre-recorded interview. Or you can provide a valuable contribution to a programme with a live interview, telling the audience something important and perhaps something they simply didn't know. Or, in the case of a crisis, you can provide reassurance, information and if necessary sympathy.

Remember, you are the expert -- the broadcasters aren't. They need you.

So what do they really want?

Basically, they want a story - that is, simply, something that will catch the attention and interest of the listeners or viewers, and persuade them to tune in again at the same time tomorrow.

But there are different types of stories.

If you've got something new or some good news, that's fine. Journalists don't always look for the dark side - BUT it must be new, different, relevant to the audience of the programme. Otherwise don't bother.

If it's a crisis, the journalist will react differently. Within hours of a crisis occurring, journalists won't expect a great deal of detail or much analysis, but they will expect to hear from you. Silence breeds suspicion. Later, they'll expect a fuller, franker assessment of what has happened. But you can do yourself and your company a lot of good, by putting your head above the parapet, being as honest as possible, and making it clear that you're not sitting back and letting the crisis drive you into the ground.

On the other hand, perhaps the journalist just wants to draw on your expertise -- using you and your knowledge to enlighten the audience. In which case, you must have all the facts the journalist needs, present them in a way the audience will understand, and deliver those facts with energy and enthusiasm.

Andrew Harvey has spent the last 30 years presenting the 
main TV News programmes on BBC and ITN. In fact he is one of the very few presenters to have fronted all the BBC's daily news programmes.

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