General Information

Advice for dealing with print interviews

Newspaper reporters work under intense deadline pressures. In these conditions, mistakes do happen. Here are some tips that might help prevent mistakes being made with your work and advice on how best to work with a newspaper reporter.

  • If a reporter or the press office emails or leaves a telephone message, try to get back to them within 10 minutes and certainly within an hour or two.
  • Feel free to ask the reporter questions before you begin. You may want to ask if they have ever covered your subject before and what kind of story they're writing to give you clues as to how much background you'll need to provide.
  • Resist the urge to answer the reporter's questions by email. Reporters need good, lively quotes and email correspondence is often stilted and doesn’t reflect the way you would speak.
  • Don't ask the reporter if you can see the story before it goes to print – newspapers don't allow it. That said, if you're worried about how a quote will come across, ask the reporter if he or she would be willing to call you after they've written a draft and read back the paragraph in which you are quoted.
  • If the reporter does call you back with your quote, resist the urge to tinker with it. If the quote is generally accurate and rings true to what you said, let it be.
  • Most reporters will ask you to spell your name and give your title. If they don't, remind them.