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It Began With a Thump: The “Newsmakers” Interview

December 11, 2010

Generally speaking, I’m not considered a klutz.  However, as I sat on the soundstage and prepared for my “Newsmakers” WKRC TV interview, I did a true-to-form impersonation of the vintage Gerald Ford SNL skit performed by actor Chevy Chase.

Waving a quick goodbye to Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune as he exited the stage, I tumbled down the steps, slid across the stage and disappeared behind a news desk.  Popping up with an “I’m OK” announcement to all the crew, I promptly climbed up to my chair, and taped the live (no dialogue edits) show with Dan Hurley.

Talk about adrenalin rush.  Yes, I’m a fast talker, but the endorphins were exploding when the cameras rolled.

I’m not a stranger to cameras, microphones or journalists.  As a FCC-licensed broadcaster and published author, I know how to talk to the camera (or the interviewer), engage the audience and build empathy. However, I just can’t “top” the tumble in Cincinnati.  Did it make the interview any better?  I don’t know – but it makes for a great story for the camera crew!

Many people ask what it’s like to do a live interview.  Watch “Jeopardy”, and you’ll have some idea.  Listening intently, staying mentally focused, and answering in quick sound bites bodes well for a memorable media interview.  Simply, if the viewer can recall three key points I discussed, the interview was a success. If not, oh well.

Using the Debating 101 STT mantra (Smile. Think. Talk.), anyone can handle an interview –even when the questions are unknown.  Try it with your friends or kids.  Talk for two minutes about something that excites you, and quiz everyone afterwards!

Preparing for an interview? Think like a journalist, and fully prepare yourself.  Be personable, discuss a point of view with singular acuity, and offer a message viewers will remember once the interview has ended.

In my case, I hope you’ll remember P.I.E. is a collaborative organization facilitating and promoting educational innovation.  Will you?  Well, that tumble may have kicked the interview into high gear, but it also represents P.I.E.’s overall point of view.  We are catalysts for educational innovation and entrepreneurial change.  We are a dynamic, evolving institution lead by innovators and change-agents.  A little blip in the road may only serve to strengthen our position.

Yeah, even P.I.E. sees the silver lining – and the opportunity – in falling down some stairs.  You finished reading this article, right?


Due to technical difficulties, the “Newsmakers” video link is currently unavailable.  The link will be posted when resolved.

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