Some Favourite Interview Moments from Online TV

See if you can learn the lessons.


How not to handle a media crisis: In early 2014 thousands of residents in Charleston, West Virginia were left without water to drink for several days, after a chemical leak from a storage facility owned by a little-known company called Freedom Industries. Local stores ran out of bottled water and West Virginia declared a state of emergency. Freedom’s president Gary Southern held an impromptu press conference to deal with a barrage of media enquiries. He looked enormously defensive and uncomfortable on camera, and tried to walk away while reporters still had important questions to ask – something which will always make you look guilty. Almost unbelievably, he was swigging from a bottle of mineral water as he spoke, merely emphasising to viewers that there was no other water to drink, and leading to YouTube responses such as this. Freedom Industries later had to file for bankruptcy.


Adam Boulton of Sky News loses it with Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell during the 2010 election campaign, when he is accused of being politically biased.  Tempers can easily become frayed after endless hours of live broadcasting, but you rarely win the debate by getting angry with your accuser, whether you are the one answering or in this case posing the questions!


One of several excerpts from the notorious Katie Couric interviews with Sarah Palin for CBS during the 2008 Presidential campaign. They pointed up her relative lack of political experience and were widely lampooned, especially on ‘Saturday Night Live’. They show how important it is to anticipate likely lines of enquiry from the interviewer—pretty predictable at the time, in this case—and have your answer thoroughly prepared. If you are trying to come up with a form of words on the spot, you are much less likely to sound convincing.

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