Federal employees responsible for agency media relations programs are aware of the pros and cons of working in a virtual environment and its impact on their work. While home offices have a lot of appeal, the use of various technologies helps professional communicators stay on top of their “A” game when it comes to coordinating media activities. For example, my work involves scheduling media interviews to support my agency’s mission and media relations program. In the past, coordinating this type of effort often required a lot of prep such as conducting research, drafting talking points, and completing sentiment analysis about the published media products. In addition to compiling content, my work requires preparing the interviewee for upcoming interviews with in-person practice sessions. The ability to conduct business in person has changed due to the pandemic and that means media relations staff have to adjust the way they do business.
The good thing is that technology is always changing allowing media teams access to a variety of resources to support the planning for new remote interviews. So like any other planning efforts, most professional communicators continue to adjust their processes to meet work demands.
Here are a few suggestions for you to use.
Quick Tips for Hosting an Engaging Remote Media Interview
- Prior to the interview, create a “media interview ground rules list” to share with the interviewee and reporter so everyone is on the same page regarding the types of topics that will and will not be covered in the scheduled interview.
- Prepare your agency’s spokesperson/interviewee by creating approved talking points that they can use as a reference during the interview
- Ask the interview participants which teleconference tools they have experience using and offer to share some quick reference guides when using a new communications tool.
- Consider testing out various video teleconference call apps with the interviewee and the reporter to make sure the technology works. This allows you to trouble-shoot any issues
- Also create a backup plan using an audio-only call just in case the video feed does not work as needed.
- Talk with your designated spokesperson and work with them to make sure they are familiar with the various teleconference tools and apps.
- Make sure you test out the sharing screen capability during the test video conference call tool which will allow you to share visuals and other media.
Author: Jeku (JR) Arce, Public Affairs Specialist, Public Affairs Specialist, Veterans Benefits Administration and FCN Blog Coordinator.