Hint: If you’re going to gloat and blame the other side for their mistakes in government make sure you back it up.
During the 2013 federal election, wannabe politician Jaymes Diaz created a buzz (or white noise as the case may be).
The Liberal candidate for the New South Wales seat of Greenway pontificated on Labor’s poor management of Australia’s
borders and how an Abbott government would solve the disaster based on a six point policy plan.
Cue the obvious question from a journalist…
Er, turns out Diaz should have been turned back to Liberal HQ for a basic media 101 lesson – know your facts before fronting up.
This interview was a doorstop – an unexpected (often unwanted) approach from a journalist asking questions on topics not known by the interviewee – difficult to handle but you need too.
“What are the other five points?” the journalist asked. Diaz didn’t know the answer (mind you he was holding the book that contained the answer, but opening that to the correct page was clearly for a shaper mind). Why Diaz didn’t know the policy before spruiking it during a street walk is beyond the RMM brains trust.
It’s easy for a journalist to ask something you don’t expect. What do you do if you don’t know the answer?
Try this as a fall back:
- Fess up and acknowledge that you don’t know.
- A journalist can’t keep attacking if you admit to not knowing, they (and the audience) will realise you’re only human and prone to mistakes. A journalist has nowhere to go. Not fessing up and trying to fudge the situation will result in…well, the interview you’ve just seen. Although, don’t make a habit out of saying “I don’t know”.
- Supply further information
- Admit you’re unaware of certain detail but reinforce the fact you’ll get the journalist an answer and make sure you do – this works as long as the interview is not live.
- Direct the interview your way
- Answer the question by saying “I’m unaware of that, but what I can tell you is this…” Get the interview back on your terms, focus it on issues that you want to talk about.
Disclaimer: practice and sound knowledge will always remain the best option. Exhaust this first.
As mentioned in the headline, there’s one overwhelming positive from this interview…did you spot it? Diaz was found out before being elected to Australia’s federal parliament. Cheers to the journalist for that one.