What is the purpose of a TV interview?

Steve Blears Media Training Guide

What is the purpose of a TV interview? Journalists are looking to report the news and explain why it's happened to their audience. They need non-journalists like you to help them discuss, explain and comment on news stories and current affairs. They also need to fill airtime.

News organisations will have their own preferences and "house style" when in comes to the people they interview and the questions they ask. This helps make their coverage feel unique and appeal to the demographics or audiences they favour.

Here are some of the types of people they're looking for:

  • An expert: Someone to share their expertise on a story or topic. This expert role will be someone not connected to the news story but has specialist industry or subject knowledge. Their job is to add context and explain or share an alternate opinion. Note: You don't need to be a scientist in a lab coat to be an seen as expert.
  • Public figures: Politicians, celebrities and other public figures including sports people. Public figures get interviewed more often because they have more influence and people care about what they have to say.
  • A spokesperson: Someone directly connected to the story often from a business or organisation. This person should be in a suitably senior position. If the news story relates to an issue or problem they're much more likey to face questions that expect them to explain themselves or appologise.
  • Vox pop: Journalists speak to men and women in the street and ask them for opinions and comments on a topic of interest.
  • Friends / Relatives: In human interest stories they'll want to talk to people who are related or friends of the person at the centre of the story.

Advice! If you're approached by a journalist, take a moment to work out how you'll fit into the story.