When Journalists Call

For pastors and others engaged in ministry, occasional conversations with journalists can be a great way to share important information and tell your stories to large audiences—at no cost. Here are a few tips from Associate Dean for Communications Jonathan Goldstein on making the most of opportunities to speak with reporters.

  • Know who is interviewing you and why.
    Identify the reporter along with his or her news organization, and ask what the story is about.

  • Be clear and direct.
    Most journalists are pressed for time and value relatively short statements from the people they interview. They will make the best use of straightforward, concise comments.

  • Make your points.
    Interviews tend to move quickly. Know the two or three points you most want to make, and be sure to convey them.

  • Avoid jargon, acronyms and flip statements.
    These can be a barrier to making important points.

  • Don’t get flustered.
    If an interview request comes as a surprise or at a bad time, ask the reporter for a few minutes to gather your thoughts. Then follow up quickly.

  • Say only things you want to share publicly.
    Assume that nothing you say, even before or after the formal interview, is “off the record.”

  • Follow up.
    If you think a story was well done, let the reporter know. If there is a significant mistake, ask for a correction.

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