media training uk

How to decline a TV interview request

Steve Blears Media Training Guide

How to decline a TV interview request. You just say no, journalists aren't the police, they don't have any special powers, they're just regular people working for a news organisation.

However, It's important to query your reasons for declining. Declining a media interview because you are nervous is a wasted opportunity.

Advice! Don't jump to the conclusion that they want to speak to you because you have done something wrong (unless you have), the vast majority of interview requests are from journalists looking for insight, help and expertise, not combat. 

Should I say "no comment"?

Making "no comment".  Journalists may come to you for a formal response to a critical claim or accusation about you or your organisation. They have a responsibility to hear from both sides in this situation and offer the right to reply.

It's up to you how you respond in this situation. If you choose to make no comment they may still run the story because you have been offered the chance to speak. An alternative to no-comment would be to offer a brief written statement.

Risks of refusing interview requests

If a journalist feels their is sufficient public interest in speaking to you they may attempt to door-step you for an interview. An example of this might be a public figure accused of wrong-doing or an organisation accused of malpractice. 

Don't expect to be doorstepped if you've done nothing wrong. For example an expert who just can't find time in their diary for an interview.

Read our blog: Why do reporters shout questions?

Term: "Door-stepping" is a term used to describe an attempt to obtain an interview, or piece to camera, from a contributor without prior arrangement or agreement, typically by confronting them in a public space, such as outside their home, workplace or courthouse.