5 Questions to Ask Journalists BEFORE an Interview

You just received a call that a journalist wants to interview someone from your law firm about a story they’re pursuing. The adrenaline starts flowing and you quickly begin imagining all the great things a good interview will lead to like raising awareness about your brand, building thought leadership for your attorneys and even connecting with new clients. You can’t wait to jump off the phone and start sharing the excitement with everyone else on your team, but take a breath because you’ll want to remember these five questions to ask journalists before an interview takes place.

When is your deadline?

This may seem basic, but reporters frequently forget to say when their deadline is for an interview or story. Their answer, though, can mean the difference between you running a victory lap to tell everyone about the upcoming interview or scrambling to connect with the right people before you run out of time. Regardless of the news outlet, deadlines can range from five-minutes to five-weeks or longer. 

Even local TV and radio reporters focused on daily news stories sometimes work on long-term projects. You need to know what a journalist’s deadline is up front so you can gauge how much time you have to prepare and make an interview happen. Also remember that if the topic of the interview is more general and not related to your company only (i.e. they’re probably asking others for the same interview) your deadline means getting back to them with a confirmed interview before anyone else, regardless of when the story might publish.

What is the story about?

Make sure you get as much information as possible about the journalist’s broader story, not just about the specific interview topic. Ask follow up questions to clarify things. Sometimes this will be obvious from the very beginning, but if the journalist is asking to interview someone for their expertise on a more general topic, ask questions. This could help you identify the best person from your company for the interview. It could also help you avoid a huge mishap if the final story is actually related to negative news about a client, a bad client experience or even another department or person within your firm. 

Go a step further and ask what specific topics the journalist wants to discuss in the interview as well. Are there any statistics you will need to pull ahead of time to prepare? Any sensitive issues you’ll need to train the interviewee on before they go on the record? Remember that few journalists will send you an official list of questions before an interview, but they will all offer a list of topics they want to discuss. The journalists want you and your company to be prepared as well.

Where will the interview take place?

Get details on where the interview needs to take place ahead of time to save time later in the process. Can a TV reporter come to your office? Does the guest need to travel to the radio station for the interview? Can a newspaper reporter speak with them on the phone? If you’re speaking with national broadcast media, they may need the guest to travel to a local studio for a live broadcast interview. There are lots of possibilities, so find out what you’re working with first. There’s little worse than confirming someone is available for an interview just to find out they have to travel to the other side of town and suddenly can’t make it.

Who will do the interview?

In a lot of situations, the person calling you will be the journalist conducting the interview, but not always. Sometimes they’re coordinating for someone else. Maybe the broadcast journalist is on the phone, but has to send their camera person on their own to record the interview. This may or may not impact the nature of the interview itself, but knowing who you will sit down with for the interview helps everyone prepare and feel more comfortable once it actually takes place. 

How can you stay in touch?

If the journalist called you, make sure you get an email address to stay in touch and save for your records. If they emailed, try to get an office or mobile phone number. If they Tweeted at you (yes, this happens a lot), try to get everything else. Ensure you have all the contact information you need to follow up and stay connected throughout the interview process at the very beginning to avoid any confusion or communication lapses later on down the road.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Now that you know what questions to ask a reporter before an interview, don’t wait around for the next call. A little preparation ahead of time goes a long way in media relations, especially once you realize you may not have much time to pull details together when you actually get that call. 

If other people could answer the phone when a journalist calls, make sure they know what to do and which questions to ask as well. Consider making an interview call checklist and having it by the phone to capture all the necessary information quickly. If your firm is all digital, perhaps you can tie the checklist to a hotkey so they can quickly put together an email with all the details. 

Then make sure you log the request, news outlet and reporter information. That way you can track the story when it publishes, follow up quickly in case there are any errors and remember who you spoke with for the next time you reach out to pitch another story idea.

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Are You the Next Rock Star on the Ghidotti Team?

The Ghidotti Team is overflowing with full-fledged rock stars. Sure – we’re looking for the best, brightest, most creative, most organized. You get the picture. But what we REALLY want is someone who we can laugh with, depend on, learn from and do great work together. Learn more about who we’re looking for and what you can expect.

Ghidotti is currently hiring an Agency Administrator! 

Agency Administrator Job Description: 

This is a part-time role providing overall administrative support to our CEO and Account Supervisor, and assisting with basic human resources and monthly accounting responsibilities. 

For this role, you’ll need to work in our downtown Little Rock office and be required to submit between 25-30 hours a week within the operating hours of 8:30 AM to 5 PM. On occasion, there is a need to work additional hours on evenings and weekends during a client launch or other events throughout the year.

While repetitive daily/monthly tasks are certainly part of this position, additional tasks assigned can vary from week to week based on the CEO’s needs and the needs of the agency. The most important responsibility of the Agency Administrator is to ensure that administrative tasks and projects are completed with a high level of efficiency, confidentiality, accuracy, flexibility and positivity.

REQUIREMENTS: 

  • Bachelor’s degree preferred. 
  • Minimum of 2-5 years experience in the related field, dealing with financial information.
  • Must be able to use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Quickbooks and Google Suite.
  • Must be able to multi-task and possess excellent organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Basic knowledge of bookkeeping.
  • Must be able to use office equipment (copy/fax machine).
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Detail-oriented and willing to tackle various ongoing projects in a fast-paced environment.
  • Excellent multitasking skills, with the ability to perform duties outside of the scope of work when necessary.
  • Must work well within a cross-functional team environment as well as independently.

Main Responsibilities

Human Resources

  • Provide support for hiring and onboarding of new employees 
  • Run bi-monthly payroll reports for intern/contractor payment
  • Coordinate new hire benefits and HR paperwork (health insurance, simple IRA, etc.) and enter into the payroll system. Plan yearly renewal meetings and update all payroll items.
  • Provide general responses to employee questions and requests on HR procedures, policies and information.
  • Process miscellaneous billings for payment & vendor management.
  • Responsible for keeping the Employee Handbook, HR policies and other HR information current and updated with the team. 

Accounting

  • Manage obligations to suppliers, customers and third-party vendors
  • Process bank deposits
  • Reconcile financial statements
  • Prepare, send and store invoices
  • Weekly expense reporting and time entry on behalf of the CEO
  • Contact clients and send reminders to ensure timely payments; Identify and address discrepancies
  • Report on the status of accounts payable and receivables twice a month
  • Update internal accounting databases and spreadsheets

Office Management/Leadership Support

  • Assist with presentation and client meeting set up; working with vendors 
  • Collect and prepare information for use in discussions/meetings of the agency leadership team and outside individuals. 
  • Assist CEO with volunteer activities – making calls, organizing catering and meetings in partnership with vendors. 
  • Management of client contracts/retainers – working with the account supervisor to ensure annual planning and timely renewal of contracts. 
  • Varying personal and professional administrative tasks including, but not limited to, booking appointments, research projects, coordinating travel, maintaining breakroom daily, maintaining storage organization and ordering office supplies, etc. 

Rock Star Environment

We strive to create a fun, engaging atmosphere where high fives, chicken minis, and celebrations are commonplace. We lift one another up, honor achievements and reward hard work.

  1. Professional Enrichment

    Whether instructor-led, web-based or sharing during Fireside Friday, we are always learning more!

  2. Community Engagement

    We love the state of Arkansas. Our team enjoys outings to locally-owned businesses and pride ourselves on community involvement. In addition, employees are often offered free tickets to community events to get out and enjoy life with friends and family.

  3. Team Building

    Quarterly adventures for the team!

  4. Winter Recess

    We shut this place down at the holidays so we can all rest, relax and reinvigorate for the new year.

  5. Summer Fridays

    We get an early jump on the weekend every Friday during the summer.

  6. Volunteer Time Off (VTO)

    Along with your PTO, you also get VTO to use to support your favorite charity or organization.

Does this describe you?

To apply, please submit the following via email to careers@ghidotti.com

  1. Cover letter and PDF of your resume 
  2. References: 2-3 minimum
  3. Tell us how you heard about this position