Television Soundbite

This is the most common type of interview and is widely used by mainstream broadcasters but many people find it the hardest format to master. It’s pre-recorded and provides the reporter with a short clip to insert into a news ‘package’.

When a journalist wants a soundbite he or she will usually turn up at your offices with a camera and record an interview with you. Although the interview may last about 10 minutes and cover a broad range of questions the reporter is only looking for a single answer to slot into the edited report. In an average news programme the entire ‘reporter package’ will rarely last more than two minutes and will often be shorter. Your contribution will generally amount to no more than 15 seconds.

The reason most people fear the soundbite is because the interviewee has no control over the answer the reporter chooses to use. The edit will happen back at the television studios and the first time the interviewee will know which segment of their interview has been used will be when they see it on air. In fact we always remind our clients that once you’ve said the words on camera, they no longer belong to you, they belong to the reporter.

We will teach you how to condense your core message into ‘soundbite’ length. We will show you how to express it in clear, lively and colloquial language. And then we will coach you in the techniques which will ensure that that the audience hears the message you want to deliver.

“I learned a huge amount from you and am tremendously grateful for all your help. You may not have realised this but I was actually very nervous about the day and worried that I would make a complete mess of it. So by far the most valuable thing you have given me is the confidence to feel that actually, if pushed, I could handle an interview and needn’t be too scared of this in future.

Senior civil servant