Lothery & Associates

5 Tips for Facing Unprepared Reporters

Did you see the latest anchor video that’s going viral? Fox News anchor Lauren Green made it very clear that she was not only unprepared, but undereducated and not an impartial vehicle through whom viewers receive the news. Instead, she launched an uninformed attack on guest, Reza Aslan, author of New York Times Best Seller, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” Questions included:

  • “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”
  • “Why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?”
  • The reporter, still unable to lure Aslan into losing his temper or jumping in the gutter with her compared a Muslim writing a book about Christ to“a Democrat writing about Ronald Reagan.”

Throughout the interview Aslan can be credited for being the highly educated, extremely poised PhD that he is, where he continued to restate his credentials as a scholar who wrote a book after researching and studying all religions for more than two decades. He tries to bring the conversation to the content of the book, where he welcomed debate, but couldn’t get the anchor off of the “how dare you write a book about Christ” aspect. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the full and painful 10 minute interview.

So this begs the question, what do you do when a reporter is clearly channeling Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, leading the interview with one thought in mind:  “I must break you.”

Here are 5 things to help you make it out with your reputation intact…and you may even put a ding or two in theirs:

  1. Stay calm
  2. Don’t take the bait
  3. Politely offer your credentials
  4. Ask a question that demonstrates the reporter/anchor has not done proper research
  5. Stick to the content of your case, not the emotions they’re trying to get out of you

But before any of that ever happens, the one mistake Mr. Aslan did make, and most people do, is he failed to research the reporter, her background, and the types of interviews she’s done in the past. When a reporter has a clear and evident bias in how they conduct interviews or frame stories, you first have to ask yourself, if this is even an interview worth doing?

If the answer is yes, prepare for the worst possible scenarios, transitioning to your message and practice your poker face. Even when the deck is so heavily stacked against you, as it is with Mr. Aslan, you can still win an audience over if you stay on the high road.

You can’t see everything coming, but you can protect yourself with doing your own investigative work and practicing for the hard questions.  Good luck and we can help you practice before your next interview!


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Comment by Judy Pollock | August 12, 2013 | 10:21 am

Good advice! In any communication exchange it is important to know your audience

The comments are closed.


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