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Interviews

Interviews are an excellent way to present a message in an engaging question-and-answer format. Journalists generally like interviews as it gives them a ‘first-person’ account to use in their articles. Interviews can be given by appointed spokespersons for a campaign, such as leaders of the campaign or well-known personalities who support the campaign; by participants of the campaign; or persons affected by the campaign issue. Care must be exercised when pitching interviews to the media, since interviewees must be well-prepared – questions can be difficult, or if on TV or radio, the interviewee may be nervous and not able to articulate well. Interviewees always need to be ‘on-message’ meaning that they must never veer away from the key messages of the campaign, and they should have the necessary facts and figures to back up any statements or arguments during the interview process. Extra caution should be taken when preparing interviewees who are those affected by the campaign issue, such as VAW survivors. They must give full consent, and be made aware of the possible consequences of the publicity from the interview. (See Adhering to ethics in campaigning).

 

Practical tips

  • Identify radio or TV stations which broadcast interviews on social issues and propose to be their guest, e.g. for an interview, a call-in program or a talk show.
  • For people who are not experienced with media appearances, it may be a good idea to conduct a few mock interviews with a friend and ask for feed-back beforehand. Think carefully of the essential points of your message that you must get across, and make sure you practice saying them.
  • Avoid being long-winded since airtime is always likely to be very short, a few minutes at the most. Instead, speak in ‘sound-bites’, which are succinct phrases that are easy to understand, and get your point across quickly and effectively.
  • If you participate in a call-in show, mobilize campaign members to call and support your point. Where possible, ask the radio or TV station to provide you with a recording of the interview – this can be a helpful reference when you are monitoring and evaluating your campaign.