Don’t Prevaricate—Have Something to Say!

To be honest, journalists really aren’t too interested in ‘on the one hand, on the other’ responses to questions. When they are looking for a quote, they want it clearly, pithily and powerfully expressed so no-one is in any doubt as to where you stand. Try to make sure the point you think is most important is the one you express most effectively and cogently, so this becomes the ‘quote’ the reporter is most likely to use. Often people make the mistake of chatting for ages to a journalist, going all round the houses with a range of views on different topics, so they end up with no idea which point is likely to appear in the finished article. If you have a clear, unambiguous view on the most important aspect of the issue, preferably backed up by good specific evidence, you are much less likely to be misquoted, and the reporter is more likely to come back to you for comment in the future. The same, of course, applies to radio and TV hosts, who also want a clear viewpoint well-expressed in a pithy sound-bite.