How To Prepare For A Reporter Interview

Katrina Interviewing

Anyone who has ever had a microphone put in their face, knows you need to prepare for a reporter interview.

Whether a reporter shows up at your job site or decides to interview you at your desk, you should be excited. You have officially landed the big fish! A media story can bring in new customers and the momentum your mission needs. 

For example, one of our clients had hundreds of people showing up to do a Block Build to transform a local neighborhood. Revitalize Milwaukee used the power of seeing hundreds of people doing great things to grab more media coverage… and ultimately more donations and future crew members. 

Since the event happened in the morning, one of the stations did several LIVE reports. This is HUGE!


Instead of the normal 3- to 4-minute segment inside the studio, the morning reporter for the news program or talk show generally has to fill at least 13 to 15 minutes of content over the course of the morning. Each “live” segment usually runs 2 to 3 minutes. The station will need several ideas.

How are you going to help the reporters accomplish their goals and make potential customers remember your business?


You MUST build the relationship with the reporter and ask what he or she wants out of this venture. Like anything else in life, knowing the person’s expectations gives you the target for success.

Be sure to convey what you want too. For instance, if you have an awesome machine on the second floor, or roof-top dining experience, ask the reporter if the photojournalist can shoot from there.

Contrary to what you’ve seen in the movies, usually the camera is cabled to the live truck. If you want to take the reporter to the roof of your business, you need to tell the crew. They need to decide the best way to run the cable or determine if they need to bring wireless equipment.


Do they have wireless equipment? All these questions and decisions need to be made in advance. If the reporter doesn’t ask, then you, the

business owner, should. And while having the reporter and the photojournalist come over and discuss everything before you’re on “live” would be ideal, rarely do crews make “site visits.” They just don’t have the time because they’re at live locations every day.

Site checks are reserved for locations that might be questionable. Having a crew come and make sure the station engineers can receive a “live” signal from your location isn’t always a good thing.


Generally, the conversation to book you on the show and go over some potential segment ideas happens on the phone. Since you won’t meet the reporter and photojournalist until about an hour before the first live shot, you need to have your planning discussion at least a week before.

I guarantee you the reporter’s boss, the News Director, is looking for segments with “high energy” and “memorable moments.” Those have been the buzzwords and the goals since I’ve been in the business.

You should have fun and play with the audience.

Need help creating the best TV segments, corporate videos or presentations, give Katrina’s team a call at (262) 423-7170 or simply hit CONTACT US.

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