answer the question

Please Do Answer the Question in a Media Interview

We are all used to politicians refusing to answer questions but it was quite shocking last Monday on Channel 4 News, to see a spokesperson for junior doctors simply parrot prepared lines without any attempts to answer a question.


Why you should answer the question before using prepared lines.

  • You retain your credibility
  • You do not give the journalist the incentive to be aggressive
  • You do not look as if you have something to hide

Media trainers always get blamed for this sort of interview but very few media trainers train people to completely ignore the questions.

We believe a spokesperson should have a prepared argument for an interview.

We believe that argument should be in normal English, not policy or specialist language, and sometimes that takes some preparation to get right.

We believe it should include some hard evidence (think numbers) and some soft evidence (think people’s experience).

But we also think a spokesperson should answer questions first, and then introduce information that has been pre-planned.

This performance from the deputy co-chair of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee is shocking. She is clear, she is articulate, she explains her case very well and she has her facts and numbers to hand, but she totally ignores almost every question and makes a prepared statement to each one without even pretending to engage.

She is very lucky that Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy took pity on her and decided not to get tough.

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