What makes a good TV interview?

Steve Blears Media Training Guide

What makes a good TV interview?  The vast majority of TV news interviews aren't about giving you a hard time, catching you out or making you look foolish. It's more common for journalists to want to hear your opinion and expertise.

Prepare five things to say and expect to say three of them. Say your best stuff first. Make sure you include a couple of interesting facts, share your comments and opinions on the subject being discussed and make sure you have some good examples, stories or brief anecdotes to bring your facts and opinions to life. 

Tip! Want to share an opinion? Read our blog: Got an opinion? Share it.

How does a TV interview work?

You'll be recorded on video and audio. You'll speak to a reporter or presenter with a camera operator present. If it's live you'll appear on air as-is without editing. If it's pre-recorded your contribution with be edited into news or programme footage where you may appear in a shorter version of the interview, short clips, sound bites or a report for transmission.

What are the types of TV interview?

In TV news the most common type of interview is a presenter or reporter speaking with a single guest. This can be in a studio or on location, either live or pre-recorded. Your contribution can appear as a short clip (soundbite) or a longer chat.

Alternatively, you might be asked to join a panel of 2-3 people with opposing or complementary views. Your contribution may be used in full or edited down to a short soundbite. In this case, ask in advance how long this broadcast segment will be on-air. This will help with your preparation time as there is no need to prepare lots of discussion points if you will only appear in a shot interview or soundbite.

Features and non-news interviews can be longer, you might be asked to participate in a section or all of a programme. This might include multiple locations.

Advice! If invited for a TV interview ask if you'll be expected to appear alongside another contributor. It's common for news programmes to feature two or more opinions together.