Media Relations & Interview Tips

Through excellent news writing and media relations, the College of Geosciences Marketing and Communications Team promotes the impact, ongoing research, and achievements, activities and recognition of our students, former students, faculty, research scientists, and staff.

Our team is available for in-person media relations advice, consultation and support for faculty members. Contact us at geoscomm@tamu.edu.

Guidelines for Media Relations

  • Aggie Core Values: Represent Texas A&M well at all times, living out the Aggie Core Values: excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, selfless service.
  • Responsive: When contacted by the media, be friendly, helpful, and responsive.
  • Expertise: Confidently communicate your expertise and research.
  • Permanence: Remember that whatever you share (either on the university/college’s behalf or personally) will/could be public forever.
  • Audience: Tailor your message for your audience, but remember that every public communication could be viewed by anyone at any time.

Before an Interview

  • Notify a member of the College of Geosciences Marketing and Communications Team before you schedule an interview with a journalist.
  • Prepare talking points: Distill your information into 3-5 priority messages or talking points. News stories can only communicate a limited amount of information, so make yours count.
  • Concise: Talking points should be clear and concise, easy for average people to understand.
  • Prepare sound bites or memorable quotes that could help convey your ideas. (Such as “For the first time, we have discovered…”)
  • Practice your soundbites with colleagues, friends or family, or in front of the mirror, if time allows.
  • Think about reference points or concepts that people can relate to.

Interview Tips

  • Have your talking points with you, either printed or digitally.
  • For on-campus interviews, a member of our team can be there to assist you.
  • Wear a unit identifier, such as a lab coat, or appropriately branded shirt. Professional dress reinforces your expertise.
  • Realize that cameras could be on and photos could be taken of your laboratory, your office, and your classroom, wherever the interview is conducted.
  • Be aware of sound in the area. Turn off or avoid background noise.
  • Listen to the questions and ask the reporter to rephrase or repeat the question if unsure what the reporter is asking,
  • Pause to collect your thoughts before answering a question.
  • Keep your answers short, to the point. This will help prevent answers from losing context if they have to be edited to fit in the space or time allowed.
  • Focus on the purpose of the interview and highlighting the point of the story.
  • If questions are outside of your field or research, you do not have to answer. (Instead: “Scientists in that field are certainly researching that, and I would refer to those findings, but can’t speak to those at this time. What we did find in this study was that…”)
  • Use bridging statements to bring answers back to your key messages. Examples: • “What is most important to remember is...” / “That’s not my particular field of expertise, but I can tell you...” / “That wasn’t the focus of our research; what we found is...”
  • At the end of the interview, you can share any of your main talking points you didn’t get to mention earlier.

Do not:

  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Chew gum.
  • Use jargon words.
  • Answer questions outside of your expertise.
  • Discuss money, litigation or personnel matters.
  • Worry about filling awkward silences; reporters need to pause sometimes.