“She is a great bite!” I used to hear that a lot in the TV newsroom and I still do. When someone was needed on-camera to speak to a certain story or issue, you might get that same phrase in the form of a question from a manager. “Is he a good bite?”
Of course what they are really asking, is the person to be interviewed good for TV? More specifically, is the interviewee capable of delivering an effective sound bite for mass media consumption? While on a recent freelance assignment for a TV news network, the news-maker, who found himself thrown into the spotlight with no prior media experience asked me the question, “so what makes for a good interview?”
That got me thinking. What are the three most basic traits all good media interviews share?
-Passion. While personalities vary quite drastically, every single good interview I have been part of over the years involved people with passion about the subject matter.
-Energy. It is possible to be passionate about the subject matter but the interview still falls flat. All good interviews involve a certain level of energy. Some possess it naturally, while others have to work at it.
-Condense. You can have all the passion and energy in the world, but without the ability to condense your information into stand-alone sound bites, even the best editor in the world won’t be able to use you.
By the way, regarding condensing, there used to be an old rule in TV news called the ten second rule. In simple terms, that meant you had to make your point in ten seconds or less for your soundbite to make air. In today’s digital world, that rule is now down to seven seconds.
Now go out and be a good bite.