A television station calls you and wants to broadcast a report about your research. The following points may be helpful in preparing for the appointment.
Questions for the media before the interview
- Who is conducting the interview?
- What is the interview about? Ask for a narrowing down of the topic.
- When should the interview take place?
- How and where should the interview take place, for example on the phone, on location, in the editorial office?
- How long should the interview last?
- Will it be broadcast live or recorded?
- Images and detail shots are particularly important for television:
- Make sure that the rooms where filming takes place are clean and tidy.
- If filming in a lab, make sure you have the correct safety precautions such as gowns, goggles and gloves.
- Avoid clothing with small or checked patterns, as these flicker on television.
- Usually, the TV crew will need detail shots, for example of your hands, or cutaway shots for the presentation of your person. It is therefore common for you to be asked to walk down a corridor or work on a computer.
- Do not look directly into the camera. Keep eye contact with the interviewee. Just think away from the camera.
- Do not expect too much prior knowledge and use as few technical words as possible. Imagine you are explaining the issue to your neighbour.
- Keep your answers short. Answers should not be longer than 20 seconds.
- If the interview is being recorded, you can start over if you get confused or lose your train of thought when answering.
- If you do not know an answer, you can say so honestly.
Types of content
The following contribution forms could arise:
- Studio interview: The interview takes place in the television studio. It is either recorded and used later or broadcast live.
- Recorded interview: The interview is recorded, often only individual quotes from you are used.
- Live broadcast: It is reported live.
- Commentary/statement: Sometimes television journalists ask for comments or short statements on controversial or political topics. In this case, a classification from the expert is requested in a few sentences. Be careful if it is not about your direct field of expertise or science policy issues!
- Background interviews: These serve as a research method for the media; quotations are often not used here. Clarify before the interview what form of background interview it is! The following terms are used by the media for this purpose:
- "Unter Drei" - The conversation is confidential, spoken "off the record"
- "Unter Zwei" - Quotes are used without mentioning names
- "Unter Eins" - The conversation is not confidential, quotes are used