Media Interviews How-to’s – Film and Newspapers
A feature article in a local paper or a local television broadcast can go a long way in raising HAE education and awareness. You may wish to reach out in your community as part of your hae day :-) effort. But how to begin?
Step one will include making a list of your local newspapers and tv stations – in surrounding communities as well as your own. Search phone listings as well as run an Internet search.
Once your list is complete, simply start making phone calls!
Ask if a reporter or editor who specializes in health issues is available. If not, ask to speak to a reporter/editor who covers human interest stories.
When you have reached your party, introduce yourself and make a passionate appeal (always being sure to be very polite) that your story is of great value to all readers/viewers – and don’t forget to highlight hae day :-) as a global HAE education and awareness effort on May 16, 2014.
Arrange a time and a place for an interview.
Most reporters will have no problem answering a few questions before your interview – that will help you prepare for it. Ask the reporter what he/she is looking for you to contribute, who else has or may also be interviewed, when the interview is expected to be aired or published and whether your interview will be live or taped.
Know what you want to say.
This is an important opportunity to deliver your own message. Concentrate on the four most crucial pieces of information (find four main points created for you here) you want viewers/readers to come away with and keep it simple. Don’t worry about sounding repetitious!
Keep your audience in mind.
Speak in terms the average person can understand. No need for big medical terms. Keep good back ground information on hand for reporters who are not familiar with HAE – the HAEA brochure (available by emailing ) is a great resource.
If you get a question you aren’t prepared for, stop to think through carefully what you want to say. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so! You can also offer to answer any follow-up questions by phone or email. And if you are unsure of an answer or feel the reporter is referring to information you feel is incorrect, do not hesitate to suggest the HAEA website (www.haea.org) where additional and accurate information can be found.
Avoid “off the record” statements.
It is a good rule to never say anything you would not want to read in print, hear on the radio or see on television or the Internet.
Always tell the truth.
Your credibility is crucial. Jokes, sarcasm, disparaging comments about others and negativity in general are never a good idea. Even if the reporter seems friendly, keep the relationship polite, but professional.
Provide visuals that could be used to help readers better understand or create more interest in HAE – for example, before and after photos of swelling episodes.
Every HAE story is compelling and unique.
Tell your story. Be confident – you are the expert here.
It takes a while to get comfortable with interviews – developing your message, making it concise and informative, and responding calmly to challenging questions.
With all that said, don’t forget to enjoy the experience!
After your interview, thank the reporter and ask when the story may appear. When it does, be sure to send a hand-written thank you note. Most people do not, so you (and the HAEA) will be remembered favorably the next time a media opportunity comes along.
Developing a theme for your interview is important.
Practice your main points so that they are clear. Here are a few core messages you may wish to incorporate into your interview theme regarding HAE, the US HAEA and hae day :-):
- The US Hereditary Angioedema Association is a non-profit patient services and research organization serving HAE patients and their families
- HAE is a rare, severely debilitating, life-threatening genetic disorder caused by a deficiency of or lack of function of C1 inhibitor, a human plasma protein
- Recurrent, unpredictable, debilitating and potentially life-threatening HAE attacks affect the airway, abdomen, face and extremities
- hae day :-) is May 16 and is a global effort to raise education and awareness of HAE
- We are fortunate in the US to have HAE medicines (just since 2008) – not all patients around the world have medicine
- The US HAEA sponsors scientific research for better HAE diagnosis, treatments and, eventually, a cure