Media Interview Handbook

A highly tactical guide to conducting effective media interviews in science communication.


Media Interviews Can be Intimidating But They Don't Have to Be If You're Prepared

Few things can be a greater source of worry to scientists than conducting media interviews. What if I’m asked about something I don’t know? What if I say something wrong? What if I’m misquoted?

But effective communication with journalists is a skill that can be learned and refined. I should know. I’ve been helping scientists communicate more effectively with the media for the past 10 years, whether it’s around the release of a new research paper, testifying before Congress, or going on The Colbert Report.

Acquiring media skills usually means signing up for a workshop or relying on in-house communications staff. But scientists don’t always have access to those kind of resources. And learning the hard way through trial-and-error is no fun for anyone!

That’s why I’ve compiled my best advice for scientists who want to conduct media interviews into a clear, concise, 24-page handbook. This isn’t a theoretical discussion about the need for stronger science communication or how important accurate science media coverage is for informing the public. If you’re here, you already know that it’s more important than ever for scientists to be heard clearly.

I’m offering this handbook through Gumroad, a service that lets the buyer set their own price, including downloading it for free.

The handbook is a highly tactical guide based on hundreds of interviews. It will help you figure out:

How long to schedule an interview for.

What you should say when you’re asked about something outside your expertise area.

How to tailor a message to a journalist based on their beat and angle.

When and how to ask for corrections.

How to avoid common mistakes, like going down off-topic rabbit holes.

The book also comes with a handy, one-page checklist you can print out and keep in your desk or tacked onto a bulletin board. It’s always a good refresher when you find that media inquiry in your inbox or when a journalist hits you with a question you never expected!