I was once asked by a local news anchor (who I regularly “talked to” over Twitter and Facebook) to do an on-camera interview about social media usage. She connected me with the field reporter working the story. He called, did a pre-interview, then asked if he could come by my office for an on-camera interview.
I’ve done many TV, radio, newspaper, and media interviews over my career as a spokesperson, subject matter “expert,” and author. I view any opportunity to do a media interview–especially TV–as an opportunity not only to “get my name out there,” but also as a way to sharpen my on-camera skills. Trust me–you can do hundreds of these and still get rusty very easily.
So, the reporter set a time–I had about 45 minutes before he and his photographer were to arrive. I cleared my calendar and–most importantly–cleaned my office. (Yes, it was messy on the heels of working as a conference host followed by a week of travel). I slipped a jacket on, combed my hair, and went over the topic in my head a few times. Then I waited.
The reporter didn’t show up.
Before I even turned on the TV and saw him at the scene of “Breaking News,” I knew what had happened: I had been bumped.
Ah, the bump.
As in: “Your interview is important, but it’s been bumped by something more newsworthy.” The reporter called, explained he had been pulled away to a crime story, and apologized for not being able to make it. I said “No worries. It happens. No biggie.”
That’s what you should do, too, if it happens to you.
My first bump was back in my years as a PR associate at a hospital. I had worked for weeks to get a TV reporter to interview one of our doctors. Tough sledding, scheduling an M.D. and a TV reporter! But I did it. Then, mere moments before the interview was scheduled to start, I received word that a car fire on the interstate had pulled the reporter away. The doctor was not pleased, but hey, I understood–I was a reporter once, myself. Especially with TV, you have to go with what’s more visually interesting and urgent. Sure, I was disappointed, and getting the withering glare from one of the nation’s preeminent heart surgeons was no fun, but that’s part of the business.