Print and online media
Have you been approached by a daily newspaper or online medium? Find out how you can prepare for this.
Questions for the media before the interview
- Who is conducting the interview?
- What is the interview about? Ask for a narrowing of the topic.
- When should the interview take place?
- How and where should the interview take place, for example, over the phone, on location, or in the newsroom?
- How long should the interview last?
- Is there a possibility of releasing quotes?
- Very often, the interviewer will record the conversation. You should be made aware of this beforehand or asked about it.
- Do not expect too much knowledge and use as few technical terms as possible. Imagine you are explaining the facts to your neighbor.
- For larger features or interviews for magazines, a photographer will often come to you for shots. Make sure that the rooms where photographs are taken are clean and tidy. If you are being photographed in a lab, make sure you have the proper safety precautions such as gowns, goggles, and gloves. Sometimes you will be asked if you can provide an existing photo of yourself for publication. Make sure you own the rights to it and that it has been cleared for publication.
- Media representatives sometimes ask for studies or graphics to use, especially if they are not freely available. Make sure you own the rights/copyright to these graphics and are allowed to release them!
- If you don't know an answer, you can say so honestly.
- In some cases, there is an option to release the quotes beforehand. This must be clarified at the time of the commitment or before the interview. Important: The release gives the possibility to correct mistakes, but does not give the right to change the complete quotes or to criticize the journalists writing style!
Types of article
The following formats could emerge:
- Interview: In the classic form, both the interviewer's questions and the answers are published.
- Report/contribution: The texts can vary in length and often contain quotes from several experts. For the quotes, also called O-tones, the journalists usually conduct a conversation/interview and then select only individual quotes for the article.
- Portrait: Here, you as a person are the focus of the story. Personal questions are also asked, for example about your private life (family, career, etc.).
- Commentary/statement: Sometimes the media also ask for comments or short statements on controversial or political topics. In this case, a classification is requested from the expert. Be careful if it is not about your direct field of expertise or about 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