Anyone who goes before a camera or a microphone should remember one thing – Gordon Brown and Gillian Duffy in the 2010 General Election campaign. It’s enough to make you come out in a cold sweat just thinking about it! How such an experienced politician with a whole host of advisers could make such a schoolboy error beggars belief, but it happened. When you are in the vicinity of cameras or microphones, even if you think they’re off, do not say anything you wouldn’t mind being broadcast.
There is also a recording doing the rounds of newsrooms of a politician sitting in a remote studio in Westminster making unmentionable noises before being interviewed – it’s never been broadcast but it doesn’t do reputations any favours. The danger of a remote studio is that it doesn’t feel like an interview situation, it’s likely you’ll be on your own so you think you can say or do what you like before or after the interview. It’s caught out a lot of people, so be careful, when you’re in that studio whether you think the camera or mic is live or not, behave as if you’re broadcasting to the nation.
TV and radio presenters and producers are by and large nice people – that’s their job. Part of what they do before they interview you is to put you at ease and make you feel comfortable, they’ll chat to you in the green room or before going on air: Remember, they’re journalists, nothing you say is off the record.
No one thinks they’ll make obvious mistakes – but they happen and when they do – they’re costly.