Sunday, April 29, 2007

Whether to Grant an On-Camera Interview

The reporter was hounding my friend to do an on-camera interview on a sensitive topic. My friend refused. The reporter was sweet-talking, but my friend felt like his job would be in jeopardy if he said something he shouldn't have.

The reporter then played hard ball. But my friend held firm, despite the reporter's raised voice and harsh words. In the end, the reporter used what my friend had been offering all along: a written statement.

When do you refuse to go on camera?

Rarely. Refusing to go on camera makes you look wimpy, lazy, guilty, controlled by lawyers or all of the above. But in my friend's case, he probably made the right decision for his organization and controlled this message. I say "probably" because the reporter will remember. So when it comes to a story that my friend is pitching and the reporter has a choice of two equally compelling stories to cover that day, he could retaliate and choose the other story.

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