Our key take away from Niall on media interviews was to prepare prepare prepare! You can always negotiate with a journalist asking who, what, why, where and when before agreeing to do an interview. This allows time to think about the purpose and value of an interview, whether it might meet your aims, and planning the key messages that you want you give. Consideration include audience, the type and aims of media outlet, if live or recorded, who else is being interviewed and the journalist’s ulterior motive. You can choose not to give an interview.
There was an excellent discussion on use of language, keeping it simple, concise, and accessible and the importance of humanising the people you might refer to by referring to their family or job role. “The father Abdul, who is a barber . . .” Focussing on a positive story / instead of facts, figures and myth busting better resonates and engages with the audience. Painting a picture, anecdotes, local history, etc. are all helpful to connect with the audience. Reiterate your key messages and refer to City of Sanctuary not we . . .
Media Interviews with people with lived experience of seeking sanctuary
There was emphasis on preparation and follow up support including safeguarding, anonymity, and the fact that stories in local outlets can be picked up by other media and get wider coverage than initially expected. Once on the internet it is nearly impossible to take down. Journalists can be asked not to ask unwanted questions ( eg back story, reasons for leaving homeland, country of origin etc. We discussed how inevitably trolls leave negative comments in local press for which you need to prepare people with lived experience and to remember that many thousands of others had a positive response to the story. It is possible to request that comments be switched off. See also our Notes to Sanctuary Ambassadors Protect Yourself on our website.
Getting across your messages
Preparing around 3 key messages and using bridging phrases (see slides and recording for examples) to ensure you get them across make for a successful interview. The key messages are informed by the aims of the interview – what do you want your audience to remember from reading, listening or watching the interview.
See also the Guide to Communications leaflet below and remember City of Sanctuary has a Communications Manager to provide advice and support. See also the Media and Communications resources on our website.