Asking reporters to send questions in advance

Working with reporters is easier and more productive when you understand how they work. You can ask reporters to send you questions prior to an interview. However, please don’t insist they do so, unless you want to sacrifice your opportunities.

Many reporters refuse to send questions in advance. They fear it’ll destroy your spontaneity. Plus, they don’t want to limit the scope of their interviews to those questions.

If a reporter declines to provide questions, you can still ask him or her to expand briefly on the scope of an interview request before you agree to speak.

After all, a topic of “401(k) plans” is too broad to allow you to do any preparation, or even to assess whether you’re a good fit for the reporter’s topic. If you’re an expert on, say, using your 401(k) for real estate investment, it’s fair to ask if that’s on the reporter’s agenda. You might also ask, “Are there statistics or background information that I can find for you?”

If you have tips that help you work effectively with reporters, please share them.