No matter how much we prepare and practice, things don’t go exactly as planned when it comes to media interviews! As life-long learners and media trainers, we’re always looking for ways to improve, learn and share our secrets of success with you! In the next few newsletters, we’ll share some our TV interview fumbles – and how to fix them!

Media Interview Fumble #2: Relying on the producer to supply your food props

Sue’s story: The night producer for CBC Morning Live National News called me at 8 pm, asking if I was available for a live interview about sugars at 6 am THE NEXT MORNING! I had already been up at 4 am for another interview that day and was exhausted, ready for bed! I could have easily declined the opportunity. However, as we all know, this is how the media works. They are on a deadline and they called me as their go-to dietitian expert. If I were to have said no, then someone else, maybe even a “pseudo-expert”, may have been called.

I accepted the interview and scrambled like crazy to prep for my interview! I spent the next 3 hours reviewing the research, creating my key messages and sending a list of my food props to the TV producers. The producer assured me that they would bring all of the props as I simply did not have the time or energy to collect / buy props. So I sent her a detailed list of the fruits and veggies that I needed for a fruit bowl.

When I arrived at the studio, I was shocked to see that the fruit bowl only contained ONE apple, ONE orange and ONE pear. I added a bunch of grapes from my purse (my pre and post-interview snack) while the morning producer walked around the newsroom, picking up an additional 3 carrot sticks, 5 cherry tomatoes and a banana (all sourced from different people’s lunch boxes) to make the bowl look fuller.

The Fix: Stay in control of all aspects of an interview – from the key messages to the visuals / props. Unless you are working a food stylist, bring in your own props so that you are guaranteed to have exactly what you want. Or, bring in a few of your own props as back up. Visuals are the road map to your key messages.

Our job as media dietitians is to communicate information in an edu-taining way. The job of the producer is to book the interview and create an interesting, relevant story – not just for you, but also for all of the other news stories / interview guests that day. Perhaps another option would have been to modify my key message related to that particular visual.

Next Month: Read about Gina Sunderland’s surprise when one of her ingredients went awry just an hour before her TV interview!