Preparation is the key to success for any media interview - whether you're being interviewed by Peter Mansbridge or the kid next door. Recently, high school student Keith Wagner interviewed Arizona State Senator John Huppenthal. During the interview, the student asked a few basic questions about massive budget cuts to education funding. Huppenthal is clearly caught off guard and appears to know less about his own voting record than the student journalist. After Huppenthal agrees that the cuts are terrible, the student reminds
him that he actually voted for a bill that would cut $550 million from education. Huppenthal's body language gets more uncomfortable as the interview progresses. He excuses himself and doesn't return. The interview has been seen more than 340,000 times on YouTube.
The Lesson: 95% of a successful media interview occurs before the first question. Do your
homework, anticipate questions (even the bad ones), Google the
reporter's previous work and never underestimate a reporter because of
their age or experience level.