Anything else? How to close out the media interview
At the conclusion of a media interview, most reporters will ask one final question: “Anything else?” It may also be phrased as, “Is there anything we haven’t discussed you’d like to talk about?” This is NOT a trick question. Instead it is a second opportunity to get your message across in a cleaner, more concise and confident soundbite.
There is one East Coast media trainer (who shall remain nameless) who states in his internet posts to just say, when asked this question, “No, I think we’ve covered just about everything.” This could not be more wrong and reinforces the importance of actually having worked in the news business – broadcast or print media – to become a media trainer.
As a reporter, I got a tremendous number of soundbites that I used in my stories from that final question – anything else? As a public affairs officer, the media spokesperson in hundreds of interviews, it was often that “anything else” that aired.
I teach my clients to always, ALWAYS have a response to this. It can be a key message point you prepared but the interviewer did not address. It can also be a simple restatement of your primary message. At that point in the interview, you as the interview subject are now a bit more relaxed, and even more rehearsed in phrasing your communications agenda – what it is YOU came to say. It’s now cleaner, more concise, and usually comes across with more confidence and credibility.
Plus, as the reporter is listening to your responses during the entire interview, he is making mental notes of what you said – the in-cue, the out-cue, how long it ran, and how you said it (clean, smooth, without uhms, and ahs). If this is the very last thing you said, chances are the reporter will think to himself, “that’s pretty good. I can use that soundbite.”
So when the reporter asks, “is there anything else?” merely smile, pause, and say, “I just want to emphasize, (then pause for the edit point), “At Widgets USA we are…”
Then watch what airs – chances are pretty good it’s the last thing you said – the “anything else.”
Michael Drake is a media trainer based on the west coast. He has held every position in a radio and television news operation, has worked in the print media, and has served as the media spokesperson on the other side of the microphone in hundreds of media encounters on local and national media.