Sharing your story
What are journalists looking for?
- Colour: Visualising the first-person impacts. Explain the impact of sewage pollution on the public.
- Quantify it: Relevant statistics can be powerful.
- Personality: Tell us a real-life story or anecdote. How has sewage pollution affected you?
- Human emotion: How does sewage pollution make you feel?
- Solutions as well as impacts.
- Use as little ‘jargon’ or complicated language as possible.
Answering difficult questions: the bridging technique
The bridging technique is a way of tackling difficult questions that allows you to acknowledge what your interviewer is asking whilst moving into more familiar territory and communicating your key message along the way. Remember to never say ‘no comment’ and always call out anything you know to be untrue.
Bridging technique example:
Question: Aren’t water companies already doing enough to stop sewage pollution?
Answer: I’m aware some have that view (acknowledge) but if you look at the facts outlined in the Water Quality Report (bridge) they highlight a severe lack of monitoring in Scotland (communicate) How do we know water companies are doing enough when we can’t even quantify the scale of the problem?
See amazing interview skills in practice from Surfers Against Sewage’s Izzy Ross, speaking on BBC Breakfast earlier this year.
Access the interview here.
• Why are you campaigning to protect your local river/beach?
• What is the purpose of the Water Quality Report?
• What is happening in your community/area when it comes to sewage pollution?
• What role can the public play to voice their concern on these issues?
• What change are you fighting for? (Your call to action)
• Why is it important to you to stop sewage pollution?
• Have you become ill from bathing? Tell us about your experience.
Tips for media interviews
• Stay calm and polite.
• Speak slowly – you might be tempted to go too fast, so slow it down and take lots of pauses.
• Use single, clear sentences to make your point.
• Use examples and personal experiences and insights.
• It’s always good to have one or two stats in your back pocket that you can use to back up your points.
• Stop talking when you’ve made your point. Don’t keep going, even if the reporter leaves a gap – it’s their job to fill it!
• Project positive body language – sit up straight and make eye contact with the interviewer (as far as you can on Zoom!)