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This section will help you to understand what the media might want from engagement with researchers. It will help you effectively prepare for, and give, interviews for print or broadcast media.

What the media is looking for

Why might the media contact you?

Click here for a discussion

Getting media interest

How might you interest the media in your work?

Click here for our top tips 

Knowing what to say and how to say it

A good interview needs good preparation. Some people find the SPIN mnemonic can help:

  • Summarise. Think about your key message and write an "elevator pitch" that gets it across in under a minute. This could be composed of three sentences:
    • The big picture (set the context)
    • Your main area of concern
    • Your take on it
  • Prioritise. Break down your message into its component points and prioritise them. Make sure you get to the most important point first
  • Illustrate. Find examples, short stories and analogies to illustrate your points and give them a human connection or relevance
  • eNcapsulate. Prepare some punchy sound bites. These could include key facts or brief anecdotes

Video exercise: Interviewing 

This video provides advice on giving interviews. Jot down the key lessons relevant to you. 

Malcolm Love gives advice on media interviews (03.57)

Does anything surprise you?
Do you disagree with anything?
How might this influence how you approach doing an interview?

Exercise: Being interviewed

Why not set up a small group of researchers to practice together. Prepare for an interview about your research using the SPIN mneumonic to help you. Take turns interviewing and being interviewed. Spend time as a group to reflect on each performance. What would you do differently next time?

Now consider the ABC of responding to questions that Malcom Love talks about in the video above. Does this help you manage questions differently?

NCCPE Resources

For more information and tips have a look at the NCCPE guides:

Working with News Media

Working with Local Radio

There are more tips for being interviewed in the Wellcome Trust Guide to Working with the Media.

Go to the next section: Posters or Return to Communication Skills home page