Amira Roberts

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Who Owns A Media Interview

So you’ve just been interviewed by a journalist. You’re not happy. Things didn't go well. What should you do, and what are your rights?

When a media interview goes badly

Maybe the tone of the journalist and their line of questioning annoyed you.

Maybe the journalist was aggressive/rude/dismissive/inappropriate and you felt it had been an unprofessional experience.

Maybe you just didn’t get your important points across. 

Maybe you were defensive, dismissive, evasive, unsure, ill-informed and unhelpful. 

And so on. There are many ways to feel dissatisfied after an interview.

What are your rights in a media interview?

So, do you have rights before your interview is published or broadcast?

Consider these points:


By participating in the interview, you have a major stake in it. Your role is not passive. Be pro-active and shape the outcome.


Whilst the journalist/media outlet ‘owns’ the eventual story you are not entitled to ask for the story to be read back to you.


But you ‘own’ your quotes and any factual information you provided. Therefore you are entitled to ask for your quotes to be read back to you. You are also entitled to check the facts that you have provided.


But remember, if you do want something corrected you can’t change a quote because you’ve changed your mind.


For example, if you described someone as a windbag and then rang back to retract that, a good journalist may report that you rang back and wanted to retract ‘windbag’.

Can you go higher up the food chain?

If you parted on bad terms with a journalist and you believe he/she was unprofessional, don’t hesitate to speak to their superior.


In doing so keep your complaints within the realm of editorial: Nothing irks a journalist and an editor more than someone who complains to management. If you’ve exhausted editorial complaints and are still unhappy, then speak to management.

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