Considerations for your next webcam media interview

During the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve been helping several clients secure interviews through Zoom or Skype. More and more TV journalists are connecting with subjects utilizing videoconferencing software, and we wanted to share tips to make your next interview a success.

Zoom or Skype?

Journalists are using a lot of different platforms for interviews (for example, a reporter suggested using Facebook Messenger video last week). If you’re coordinating an interview for an expert and have the choice, I prefer Zoom. Ask the journalist for a meeting link that your expert can access when it’s time for the interview. In my experience, it’s easier than setting up Skype or Teams interviews, but both are doable. I typically defer to the journalist’s preference.

Recorded or live?

A majority of local TV news segments will be taped, not live, but it’s still important to ask so your expert is not caught off guard.

If your segment is live, you’ll need to confirm logistics with a producer which typically requires connecting before your interview to test sound and video.

B-roll, please

TV is a visual medium and a reporter will need b-roll to support the story. Make it easier on them by having video or photo options they can consider. Send these assets via Dropbox, Google Drive or another file transfer service.

Better audio

Audios woes are the worst and some computers have better microphones than others. This is a solvable issue on Zoom. Have your expert connect to the videoconference on their computer and follow the instructions to connect audio to their phone. I’ve found the audio to be richer and less buggy.

Time will tell how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts how we interact and communicate. One prediction I have for the PR industry is that journalists will be much more likely and willing to utilize webcams for expert interviews. Maybe it’s time to invest in a new webcam?

I hope you’re staying safe and well during this time.

Cameron McPherson

Cameron builds strategic communication campaigns that increase awareness and build public support. His familiarity with Virginia’s local markets helps clients navigate and understand complex and emerging issues. He frequently assists new companies, restaurants and other organizations launch in the Richmond market through public relations tactics.

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