It does take guts to expose yourself to the ordeal of a media interview and it’s so much EASIER to hide behind a statement…
Most of the time accepting media interviews is the best course of action. You demonstrate the human face of your organisation and take a role in framing the debate. With appropriate training, you may not be able to control the interview but you will be able to deflect difficult and inappropriate questions introducing important messages for your organisation.
When to decline a media interview
There are times when an interview is not appropriate. The PR adviser should screen the requests coming through to ensure you understand the angle and motivation of the journalist and the context in which your interview would be placed.
If it emerges they want you to comment on the demise/misfortune of a competitor – you would be well-advised to steer clear. Likewise if a story is ill-founded, hypothetical, based on speculative evidence or covering confidential information – you would not want to credit it with a response.
On other occasions – in the event of a fast-unfolding crisis – a statement may be the appropriate first step while you still in the process of planning your response. In different circumstances, if you feel the media is looking for a general ” fall-guy” to blame, there is no benefit in pointing the attention in your direction!
So although there may be excellent genuine reasons for passing up interview opportunities – these should be based on careful consideration rather than fear of the process itself.