The Meeting, the News Conference, and The Interview

A news release or text or abstract of a paper usually provides only the framework for a story. Science writers need to interview speakers to have them amplify on their findings, answer questions raised by the paper, or make sure the writer fully and accurately understands the research.

Thus, the PIO may schedule news conferences or initiate media interviews with either an outstanding speaker or group of speakers on a panel. Convenient times for the speakers and the media should be arranged and announced in advance.

Generally, news conferences should be scheduled one news cycle before the paper is to be delivered. For example, the news conference for a paper to be delivered in the morning should be held the previous afternoon.

If several reporters ask to interview the same speaker, you may decide to hold an "open" news conference, announced in advance so that all interested journalists can attend.

However, the PIO must respect the initiative of an individual reporter who, perhaps sensing a story others may not, asks for a personal interview. In this case, the PIO must not inform other journalists of that reporter's interest and request. To do so penalizes the journalist's initiative and can create ill feeling. Nor should the PIO post interview sign-up lists in the newsroom, which can undercut such initiative.

Magazine writers, especially, looking beyond immediate news often want to explore and develop in privacy special aspects of a scientist's research or the society's activities.


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