Do They Just Want a Sound Bite?

Television and radio reporters often don’t really need a full interview with people they speak to. Instead they may just be looking for a nice punchy pre-recorded sound-bite or two – maybe the fifteen or twenty seconds that really sums up your argument in the most pithy way. This can become one of the building blocks for a short news report or a longer current affairs programme. The process can seem unnatural, because when a reporter is interviewing you for a sound-bite they may ask you the same question several times.  This is usually because they want to elicit the best possible response from you on the element they’re most interested in, or it may be something technical, such as a noise in the background that will affect the sound quality.  Do not let this put you off – if necessary, keep repeating your key points but perhaps in a slightly different manner, for example giving them a longer version and a shorter version.  This way, they have more flexibility in how they use your contribution, and it increases the chance they will end up with something usable. More experienced interviewees can proficiently weave their key messages into several responses.  (Taken from the book The M-Factor by Tom Maddocks.)