It might seem intimidating to receive a request for a television or newspaper interview to discuss your Safe Sitter® program, but don’t worry! Here are some tips for working with the media that will allow you to shine in your interview.
• When you receive a media request, respond quickly. Journalists often work on short deadlines and rely on you to help them meet those deadlines. If you are not able to accept or decline the media request immediately, ask the journalist when they need a response from you and respect that deadline.
• Ask for a general description of the story. The journalist may be pursuing a specific angle and you want to make sure the information you communicate aligns with their story.
• Inform your internal communications team. The communications team within your organization may have a press kit prepared to share or have additional information they want to provide the journalist.
• Review relevant background information. You can find information about Safe Sitter® National Headquarters by downloading our Fact Sheet. It is also good to know how long you have offered programming and how many students you have taught. If you do not have this information, contact Safe Sitter® National Headquarters. (See, turning in your rosters is a good thing!)
• If you’re given questions in advance, practice your answers. It is best to deliver your answers sincerely and specifically while being brief. Journalists typically want “sound bites” and long answers are not often used. If you would like feedback to the interview in advance, contact Safe Sitter® National Headquarters to schedule a time to practice responding to interview questions.
• Tell stories. Stories help paint a picture of the benefits of your program. Share stories of successful classes, information parents have shared about the positive impact of the program, or lives that have been saved because of the program. You can also share the story of how Safe Sitter® started from the Instructor Manual.
• Have three key points you want to emphasize during the interview. Important information to prepare includes what students will learn in a Safe Sitter® class, future class dates, and specific registration information. If you feel that the conversation is veering away from your key points, try using bridging phrases such as, “Let me add …,” “It is important to emphasize …,” or “Another question I’m often asked is …”.
• Refer the journalist to another contact for questions you cannot answer. If the journalist asks questions outside of your area of expertise, it is okay to say, “I don’t know the answer to that question.” Refer the journalist to other individuals within your organization or Safe Sitter® National Headquarters for more information.
• Be prepared for the last question. Journalists often end an interview asking, “Is there anything else you’d like to add?” Always have a closing statement prepared that summarizes what you wanted to communicate in the interview.
Working with the media can be stressful, but it also provides an opportunity for you to show what an important role your organization has in building a safer community.