By: Derek W. Logue of
Published August 8, 2014; Updated February 2021
CLICK HERE to download the Powerpoint presentation given at a 2014 Conference]


The purpose of this article is to help reform activists prepare for a variety of media interviews for print media (both Internet and traditional paper media), radio and television (including online video interviews). The media is a powerful tool for promotion; however, interviews can be an intimidating experience. Thankfully there are a number of techniques you can utilize to better prepare for the interview experience. This article addresses the typical forms of media interviews, the interview style to beware, and how to identify and address interviewers with hidden agendas. Also included are various techniques you can utilize before and during the actual interviews, such as practice interviews, body language exercises, and preparing brief talking points.


“Visibility equals credibility.”[1] This simple statement forms the most basic tenet of marketing. The Anti-Registry Movement is in need of a strong marketing campaign, yet our numbers are few and our resources fewer. The best way to spread the message of registry reform is by effectively utilizing the media.

Virtually everyone utilizes some form of media to gather information on a topic. A 2010 Pew Research Center poll found 99% of Americans view at least one news story daily; 92% of Americans use multiple platforms to get news on a typical day, including national TV, local TV, the internet, local newspapers, radio, and national newspapers; 46% of Americans say they get news from four to six media platforms on a typical day; more than half of American adults (56%) say they follow the news “all or most of the time”; about 78% of Americans get their news from a local TV station; 73% watch national/cable news shows; 61% get most of their information online (a number that has likely increased since then); 54% listen to a radio news program; half read local newspapers; and 17% subscribe to a national newspaper like USA Today or the NY Times.[2]

Our political leaders obtain most of their information from the media, which they use to shape their legislative decision-making. Unfortunately, most information about the sex offense registry has been untrue, which has reinforced many myths that justify the continued use of public registries. As noted in a 2007 Minnesota Public Radio conversation, “misinformation and a lack of information often shape sex offense policy…Most of the legislators (in a study by Lisa Sample of U. of Nebraska- Omaha) said their primary source of information was the news media.” In most cases, lawmakers didn’t read studies that were relevant to the legislation they supported. Sample found that most sex offense legislation follows the abduction and murder of a child, and the resulting public outrage. In Minnesota, a panel of experts completed a comprehensive report to serve as a guide for sex offense policy in the state. One of the report’s authors said the biggest challenge is just getting lawmakers to read it.[3]

I have stated the obvious; the media has the power to shape public opinion and public policy. So how do we tap into this powerful resource? First, we must understand facts and fictions about the media and its influence over people.

FICTION: The media must report both sides of a story.

The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission’s view, honest, equitable and balanced. The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. The main agenda for the doctrine was to ensure that viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints.[4] The FCC decided to eliminate the Doctrine in 1987, and in August 2011 the FCC formally removed the language that implemented the Doctrine.[5]

That being said, the media sometimes seeks a conflicting opinion. Some providers are not even aware there is a dissenting opinion on sex offense laws. This might work to your advantage as you make contact with media personalities.

FACT: Members of the media can have an agenda and can use their positions as journalists to influence acceptance of this agenda.

One popular theory on how the media influences the public is called “agenda-setting theory.” This theory describes the “ability (of the news media) to influence the salience of topics on the public agenda.”[6] If a news item is covered frequently and prominently the audience will regard the issue as more important. Agenda-setting is the creation of public awareness and concern of salient issues by the news media. Two basic assumptions underlie most research on agenda-setting:

  1. The press and the media do not reflect reality; they filter and shape it; and
  2. Media concentration on a few issues and subjects leads the public to perceive those issues as more important than other issues.[7]

One of the most critical aspects in the concept of an agenda-setting role of mass communication is the time frame for this phenomenon. In addition, different media outlets have different agenda-setting motivations.

No discussion of media influence would be complete without understanding the term propaganda and how it differs from persuasion. “Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”[8] Propaganda is intended to achieve a goal for the propagandist, not necessarily for the public. The media tends to be propagandistic by nature.

By contrast, persuasion as a subset of communication, is usually defined as a communicative process to influence others. A persuasive message has a point of view or desired behavior, intended to be voluntarily adopted by the recipient.[9] The purpose of persuasion is to reach a common goal that satisfies all parties; synonyms for persuasion are dialogue and compromise. The process of persuasion is reciprocal and voluntary.

Mass media can be persuasive and propagandistic, though it heavily leans towards the latter, especially in regards to the sex offense registry. We tend to think of propaganda as negative because of recent historical events, most particularly, the association with the terms “Hitler” and “Nazis.” However, propaganda is a part of everyday life in the form of awareness campaigns, advertising, and websites. Even our movement is labeled “propaganda” by those outside our cause. Thus, it is important to recognize that not all propaganda is inherently bad, but our goal is more that of persuasion.

FICTION: The media will fact-check and give you the objective truth.

John Stossel succinctly summarizes the media reporting process: “Many in the media are scientifically clueless, and will scare you to death. We don’t do it on purpose. We just want to give you facts. But the people who bring us story ideas are alarmed. Then we get alarmed, and eager to rush that news to you. We know that the scarier and more bizarre the story, the more likely it is that our bosses will give us more air time or a front-page slot. The scary story, justified or not, will get higher ratings and sell more papers. Fear sells. That’s the reason for the insiders’ joke about local newscasts: ‘If it bleeds, it leads.’ Also, raising alarms makes us feel important. If we bothered to keep digging until we found the better scientific experts, rather than the ones who send out press releases, we’d get the real story. But reporters rarely know whom to call. And if we did, many real scientists don’t want to be bothered. Why get involved in a messy debate?”[10]

Many activists do what politicians and reporters may not do—read the facts. We read, analyze, and summarize complex data to reach a logical conclusion. We simply have the time and the desire to do so because we have a vested interest in dispelling these myths. Reporters and politicians have short deadlines to devote to a bill or a topic. We are experts in sex offense issues, but we aren’t highly visible because, for the most part, we belong to small, grassroots organizations. The media may approach us for an interview, but we can’t always rely on the “wait-and-see” method of attracting attention. We need to be more proactive, which brings me to the next fact:

FACT: The news media is receptive to story ideas

Raising awareness is difficult but not impossible. Thanks in part to the Internet, we can influence stories in many ways. One way we have dispelled myths in the media is through the comment sections on articles of interest. On occasion, these comments are read by the editor and may appear in later articles on the subject. However, there are other strategies we can utilize to raise awareness of our cause. Many media outlets allow us to write “letters to the editor” or editorials.[11] Sometimes, you may even be told to contact the reporter directly. This offers the opportunity to express your concerns, ask for a follow-up story, or to suggest an interview to further discuss the topic. It is even possible to proactively suggest a topic for a show or news story if you can gain access to the news editor or producer.

FACT: The media can create AND debunk myths

In the introduction of the 2009 book, Culture of Fear, author Barry Glassner states, “While a major focus of this book is fear-mongering by journalists and others, throughout the chapters that follow I take note as well of reporters who bring to light serious dangers about which the public hears little from politicians, corporations, and most of the media. Indeed, again and again I find that it is reporters, rather than government oversight organizations, academics, or other professional truth seekers, who debunked silly or exaggerated scares that other journalists irresponsibly promulgate. Unfortunately, however, these correctives often occur long after whole sectors of the populace have been scared senseless.”[12]

Controversy sells. Our movement represents a dissenting and, at times in the eyes of the media, a “controversial” opinion. Thus, we have a golden
opportunity to challenge some of the most prevailing myths in our culture; those surrounding sex offenses and the people who commit them. At times, we can find individuals willing to consider our position. We have the evidence on our side, and because of our degree of knowledge, we can become a valuable resource to reporters looking for a dissenting opinion.

FICTION: Being in the media guarantees you will be an instant celebrity

The media, and its consumers, tend to have short-term memories, not unlike Drew Barrymore’s character in the movie “50 First Dates.” However, constant exposure to our message is having an impact on the media. The more we get ourselves out there, the better our returns will be. If you represent an organization or an activist website, you may see a spike in site visitors but it will go away in a day or two. If you run your own site, perhaps you can make a message welcoming people coming in from the show and directing them to what they need to see most.

The good news is that media exposure increases our credibility as experts in the field. I can state that “Derek Logue is a nationally recognized expert on sex offense laws, with over two dozen media appearances including CNN and HLN” because it is a fact. Visibility equals credibility.

Part 1: Understanding Types of Media

Media can be categorized into three types: radio, television, and print. The Internet can fall into any of these three categories because it can offer all three mediums through podcasts (radio), streaming video or YouTube (television) and websites, blogs, or news stories (print). Most media outlets utilize multiple mediums; a television program may also host a website, a Youtube channel, and multiple social media pages, including a Facebook page and Twitter page. Each medium has specific requirements that you should understand before the interview.


The main feature of radio is that it is a personal medium. Radio gives the illusion of a one-to-one relationship, which means that you should adopt an appropriate style when you go on radio programs. You should adopt a friendly approach for interviews on programs such as Talkback. In radio you are talking to or with people, not at them. The radio message is a fleeting moment of sound. It is not the medium for complex explanations or lists of facts and statistics. The listeners have to be able to grasp your point at one pass of the information, as there is no visual reinforcement and no hard copy to check back for verifications.[13]

The Radio Interview Experience

  • Very few “shock jocks” cover news stories of importance, so you will most likely speak with a soft spoken news reporter in a casual environment.
  • Radio Interviews are typically over the phone (call-in).
  • There is no note-taking. You are generally allowed to speak freely with minimal direction. This is a good opportunity to promote yourself.
  • Since people won’t be taking notes, it is better to use anecdotes and stories rather than spend a lot of time giving hard facts. Share a couple of basic facts and follow up with shocking stories (“Did you know Texas lists 10 year old kids on the registry?”)


There is something uniquely satisfying about having your name in newspapers. You can’t frame a TV or radio interview to hang on the wall. Print press interviews have similar requirements as electronic media in terms of news value and brevity. The apparent relaxed nature of print press interviews should not lull you into a false sense of security. Ensure that you get your key messages in early; place tonal emphasis on key messages, and be careful not to let your thoughts and vocalizations ramble. A trick for print press interviews over the phone is to stand up while doing the interview – it will give you a lot more confidence.[14]

The Print/Press Media Experience

  • You will most likely be talking with someone one-on-one, either by phone or in person (the reporter sometimes comes to your house).
  • These types of interviews tend to be relaxed and open, allowing you to offer a lot of knowledge and stories about the topic.
  • Watch for pauses and, if in person, for when the reporter is jotting something down because he or she thinks that is important. Be sure to be clear on key points. Reporters rarely record conversations, they go by their notes.
  • Expect to only see a few lines of quotes in a news story. TV Interviews sometimes have a corresponding print version of the story on their news websites.

Television: Television is demanding in the sense that the audience can see you as well as hear you. Your body language, dress, background and movement all contribute to communication with the audience. To appear credible on television, you must sound AND look credible. Sit rather than stand to better control your movement and remember to use slow, controlled gestures. Review your appearance before the interview to ensure that your dress, hair and facial expression come across as credible. The power of television is its visual impact; you must be brief and to the point. Explain your key messages in a limited amount of time. Don’t feel the need to rush; allow yourself time to think by looking away while think about the question (look down to the floor not up to the ceiling). Use silence instead of filler words such as ‘um’ while thinking.[15]

The TV News Experience:

Local media: 

  • Most likely a one-on-one interview, highly edited. 
  • Interviews can be up to an hour long, and edited down to a two or three minute segment.

National Media:

  • Can be a one-on-one edited segment but more likely a short, live segment of 3 to 6 minutes; expect only a maximum of a couple minutes to
    make your point.
  • May be on a panel discussion and thus, sharing time with someone who has a conflicting, often extreme opinion and who is, perhaps highly
  • On a syndicated network show, expect a pre-appearance interview or two from the producers; they want to ensure you can give clear answers
    and be entertaining.

Media genres

For the purpose of this article, “Media genre” is defined as the classification of the style, approach or pattern utilized by a media outlet. Some forms include:

  • Advocacy journalism – Writing to advocate particular viewpoints or influence the opinions of the audience. (THAT’S US!)
  • Broadcast journalism – Written or spoken journalism for radio or television.
  • Investigative journalism – The use of investigation on a subject matter while uncovering news events.
  • Gonzo journalism – Characterized by its punchy style, rough language, and ostensible disregard for conventional journalistic writing forms and customs (many cable TV shows, like Nancy Grace fall into this category).
  • Tabloid journalism – Writing that is light-hearted and entertaining.
  • Sensationalism (“Yellow Journalism”) – A type of editorial bias in mass media in which events and topics are over-hyped to increase viewership or readership numbers. Sensationalism may include reporting about generally insignificant matters and events that don’t influence overall society. These are often biased presentations of newsworthy topics in a trivial or tabloid manner.
  • Parachute journalism – The practice of thrusting journalists into an area to report on a story in which the reporter has little knowledge or experience. (MOST journalists fall into this category regarding sex offense issues).

The media is an important utility for information dissemination. The media gives us the opportunity to reach a larger audience. However, media interviews can be intimidating, especially if you are not adequately prepared. The next section covers tips on preparing for the media interview.

Part 2: The Media Interview

The first step in preparing for your interview is identifying the type of interview being conducted. This is important because some types of interviews need more preparation than others. You can determine the type of interview by observing past interviews by this person or by simply asking the interviewer what format he or she will be using. There are several types of media interviews:

  • News-gathering Interview: Collecting facts or history about a subject, either for a story or in preparation for another interview.
  • Confirmation Interview: Checking the validity of a report or a rumor or to get a second source on an important piece of information.
  • Reaction Interview: Gathering reactions or responses to breaking news.
  • Person-on-the-street Interview: Seeking input from diverse members of a community.
  • Experts Interview: Adding the expertise of a knowledgeable source to your story.
  • Balance Interview: Showing the many facets of a story by getting multiple viewpoints.
  • Q & A Interview: Presenting the information in a question and answer format.
  • Advance Interview: Gathering information and write about an upcoming person or event.
  • In-depth Interview: Engaging in a long conversation for a profile feature story or an enterprise story.
  • “Gotcha” Interview: Confronting a subject, often with incriminating or embarrassing information.[16]
  • There is one particular interview format worthy of special attention—the dreaded “Panel discussion.” I believe the panel discussion can be the very worst type of interview. Certain cable news programs utilize this format; these are often designed to be unruly debates where panelists are often handpicked because they offer an extreme point of view.

Choose wisely in accepting interviews. You do not need to grant every interview request. Carefully consider whether to participate in an interview that:

  • Would compromise you in any way (i.e., if your personal life is part of the story);
  • Is out of your range of expertise (i.e., plenty of opinion questions like, “What do you think we can do to stop sexual predators?”); or
  • Is in a panel discussion format.

There is no shame in referring the potential interviewer to someone else if you don’t feel up to the task. This is particularly true if you refer it to an
established registry reform group.

One fact you will have to accept is you have limited control over the interview or the subsequent article. One phenomenon that tends to occur in most articles where Registered Citizens and their supporters are featured is something I like to call “the big BUT.” This happens at a point in the story where the journalist adds a conflicting opinion that tends to damper an otherwise good story. This typically starts with the word “but” as the beginning of the re-BUT-tal (pun intended). As an example, the “big BUT in an article might occur when the interviewer says: “John says the sex offense registry harms his family, BUT Jane of Save the Kids, Inc. says the registry protects kids.” There is not much you can do but give the best interview you can give and try not to worry about the “other side of the issue.”

Interviewer personalities

The modern media, especially cable TV and radio shows, often hire individuals who offer entertainment value as well as covering a topic. Examples of these entertainment-oriented interviewers include Dr. Drew, Nancy Grace, Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh. Of course, this behavior may not be limited to the obvious examples. When approached for an interview, watch for these distinct interview personality types and prepare a counter-strategy:

  • The Rapid Fire or Machine Gunner Questioner: This type of interviewer asks several questions quickly and all at once. The best way to deal with this kind of interview is to answer the question you want to with a key message.
  • The Paraphrasing Parrot: The interviewer paraphrases what you have said. This can be dangerous. You must listen carefully and immediately correct any information that strays from your original statements.
  • The Disrupter: The interviewer asks another question or interrupts before you are finished. In this kind of situation you can ask the interviewer, “please let me finish my answer…” If your key messages can be conveyed in 10 seconds or less you should not have a problem. You can also continue answering the question despite interruptions.
  • Negative Leader: This type of interview will pin negative labels on you. Correct the negatives with the positives.
  • The Bully: Make sure to answer their key question only and don’t get mad. You can ask them to repeat the question and use pauses. It’s also fine to re-phrase the question in your own words before you answer it. Always be polite. Don’t be intimidated, remain calm, avoid confrontation and stick to key messages.
  • The overly friendly interviewer: They will either enjoy meeting you or enjoy disarming you, especially in the pre-interview screening. But be aware that they intend to go ‘in for the kill’ while recording. Be cautious, but not cold.
  • The ‘last minute’ interviewer: This is an opportunity for you to take control of the interview. This reporter has probably been assigned the story last minute without having time to do all the background research. Be prepared for ill-informed questions.[17]

One tactic in particular is worthy of further discussion. If the journalist asks the same question repeatedly in different ways, the interviewer is probably fishing for a specific answer to fit his or her agenda. A prime example of this tactic comes from my interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer in July 2007. During the interview, the reporter asked if I moved to Ohio because the laws were more lax. I said, “No, I moved to Ohio because one program in Florida that accepted me reneged on the offer, and the Ohio move was a last minute decision.” He then asked if Ohio is more lax than Florida, I responded the residency restrictions were not as tough (Ohio’s restrictions was 1000 feet from schools only, while Florida has restrictions as high as 2500 feet)

In the actual article, the reporter made the following statement: “Some, like Logue, say sex offender laws are more lenient than in other states. ‘I was
supposed to go to Florida, but Florida was too tough on sex offenders,’ he says.” The reporter then discussed how Florida registers people for life (not all registrants) while Ohio only registers some registrants for 20 years.[18] This blatant misquote helped reinforce a local myth that Cincinnati was some kind of “Mecca for sex offenders.”

There are a few keys you can use to prepare for an interview.

  • Do your research: Read up on the topic at hand; Cram like you are going to take a test; know your resources.
  • Choose your words wisely: Key points tend to be remembered when they are short, sweet, and to the point. Most media interviews rely on one or two key points to “sell” the story; develop “catchphrases”; understand semantics; refer to yourself as a “registered person” or similar moniker.
  • “Know thy enemy:” Research the reporter (and any panelists, if in a panel discussion). Watch the show or peruse other media discussions involving the reporter. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the interview format. If in doubt, know when to say no.
  • Practice makes perfect! Practice an interview with a fellow activist, and ask for feedback. Some activist groups may offer to conduct mock
    interviews as practice (Such as Tom Madison’s “Radio Role Play” course).
  • Don’t be afraid to set a couple of guidelines, such as No “P” Words (Pervert, pedophile, predator). Develop “thick skin” for the things you can’t
  • Time yourself: Use a clock with a second hand or a stopwatch as a visual aid to time your answers. Aim to answer in 15-30 seconds in most
    circumstances. How can you best get your point across in a short sentence or two?

Body Language

Our body influences our mind, our mind influences our behavior, and our behavior influences our outcomes. Therefore, understanding the role body language plays in preparation is imperative. Powerful people “make themselves big” or expand; powerless people slump, wrap up, and shrink. We compliment the non-verbal actions of those we converse with– when the other is powerful, we shrink, and when we are powerful, the other shrinks. Truly powerful people have high dominance (testosterone) coupled with low stress (cortisol). You may not feel confident now, but studies on body language have concluded you can “fake it until you make it”; you can “believe it until you become it.” Practice confidence-building techniques before interviews, and use parts of them during interviews, even if you are not on TV. “Tiny tweaks” in body language lead to “big changes” in your confidence over time.[19]

The “Two Minute Drill”

Before every interview, even practice interviews, try these techniques to help in your physical preparation. Pick a “Power Pose” and hold it for two minutes. A power pose is a stance of confidence; typical power poses include standing with your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands on your hips and standing tall (a.k.a. the “Superhero pose”), raising your hands over your head in a “victory pose,” or sitting in a relaxed position with your legs spread and your body leaned back with your hands behind your head. Before a speech or important telephone call, allow your voice to relax into its optimal pitch by keeping your lips together and making the sounds “um hum, um hum, um hum.” And if you are a female, watch that your voice doesn’t rise at the ends of sentences as if you are asking a question or seeking approval. Instead, when stating your opinion, use the authoritative arc, in which your voice starts on one note, rises in pitch through the sentence and drops back down at the end. Take a deep breath and exhale through your mouth just before you enter the meeting room. If you are unobserved, make a soft “ahh” sound; doing so releases the tension in your neck, shoulders and jaws that can make you look rigid or aggressive.[20]

To tell or not to tell: Your personal testimony

If you are a Registered Citizen or a loved one of a Registrant, you may consider whether or not to discuss your personal story. Personal and emotional stories can be power statements against registry laws. However, your personal story can be a weapon to be used against you. The decision to address your story is up to you; do so if you feel confident you can handle the pressure of potential attacks against you. If you do, be honest and choose your words carefully; the competition likely knows your story (or at least what they assume is your story). If you choose not to discuss your case, then state so plainly; “I’m not here to discuss my own past.” Remember, you don’t have to answer any question, but failing to address a question can have potentially negative consequences. [21] Trying to explain your actions, no matter how much you want to “set the record straight” will likely only lead to accusations of “minimizing” or “excusing” past behaviors.

During The Interview

Below are 10 really good tips for answering media questions:

  • Answer clearly using key messages
  • Say “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’ll get back to you.” (print reporters only)
  • Say “I don’t know, but what I can tell you is…” (for radio and television)
  • Say “I’m not going to answer that question, and I’ll tell you why”
  • Side step and bridge to a key message. “That’s not really the issue here. The issue is…”
  • Take the time you need to formulate answers
  • Quotes are 20-25 words on average
  • You are the expert
  • Smile
  • If you don’t understand a question, you can ask for it to be repeated.[22]

One key strategy during the interview is learning to “take charge.” Either you or the reporter controls the interview – so take the lead. Below are a few leading strategies:

  • Hooking: not completing an answer or throwing out a “hook”
  • Bridging: transitioning to your agenda after answering a question
  • Flagging: break up your answer into a number of important points and say so[23]

There are a few things you can do after your media interview to help further the cause. If possible, make follow-up contact with the reporter or the other show guests. Building a good rapport and/or supplementing the issues you raised in the interview with your references helps solidify credibility. There are hundreds of active members in our cause, and not everyone will love your interview. Don’t be hard on yourself. No one is perfect. Try not to fall into the “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” and similar thinking traps. Every media interview, no matter how you feel about the interview, is exposure for our cause (“street cred”). Honestly, the only truly bad exposure is no exposure at all.

Our “15 minutes of fame” typically lasts only about a day or two. The media has a short memory, as will the audience, especially in the national TV and radio media. So don’t beat yourself up over a “bad interview” and don’t listen to the haters. But if you do have a bad interview, reflect on what went wrong and develop a strategy for addressing that deficiency.


The media is the primary form of disseminating news. The media, however, is not obligated to be impartial and unbiased, nor does it have to present both sides of the argument. The media can indeed advance an agenda and remember– controversy sells!

The media can be a powerful tool for advocacy if you are properly prepared and well-versed in the facts. There are many techniques we can utilize to reach out to reporters, including commenting on articles, direct contact with the media outlet, and writing OpEds or letters to the editor.

We may be approached by the media as part of our advocacy work, so we must recognize the approach taken by various forms of media as well as the intent of the interviewer. It is VERY important to know who is interviewing you and if you have time, research this reporter and see if the reporter has written articles or voiced opinions on registry reform in the past. Consider your own limitations before accepting a media interview, especially if the reporter wants to focus on your personal life, ask questions outside your field of knowledge, or invite you to more chaotic interviews such as a “panel discussion segment.” If in doubt, don’t do the interview, but suggest the reporter reaches out to a member of an established activist group.

You are solely responsible for presenting your facts succinctly and clearly. Practicing interviews and stress relief techniques also help prepare for media interviews. Most importantly, understand your limitations; you can lead the media with the facts but you can’t make them accept those facts. Stick to your talking points. If you feel the interview took a bad term, just remember the media has a short-term memory; just learn from past mistakes and develop a strategy to fix those mistakes.


1. In 2019, Jenny Day of News 11 in Arizona made the following claim on the air, “Statistics show 99% of child sex offenders reoffend, yet they are still being released into our community.” How would you contact News 11 about this error and what would you say to them if you had the opportunity for a rebuttal?

2. You read an OpEd written by the editors of the local newspaper that proclaims the SORNA laws are still needed because they prevent sexual abuse and hold registrants accountable. This paper only allows Letters to the Editor of 150 words or less. What would you write in response to this OpEd? Write a practice letter and keep it under 150 words.

3. You get a call from a nationally syndicated TV show inviting you to a live, on-air, 5 minute, four-person panel discussion on a recent Supreme Court case involving the rights of Registered Persons on residency restriction laws. This means you likely won’t get to say much during the interview, since 4 speakers in 5 minutes doesn’t amount to much time so you’d only have one key talking point to emphasize before the panel discussion will inevitably fall into chaos. After watching a sample of the show, you see the TV host leans heavily in favor of registry laws. The other 2 panelists are a reality TV show “star” and a well-known law enforcement agent. Would you agree to the interview and if so, what would be your main talking point, and how would you get that point across in a mere 15 seconds?

4. You’ve agreed to an interview and right in the middle of it, without any prior indication, the reporter brings up your offense. Would you answer his
question, or would you refuse to answer? If you refuse and he persists, would you end the interview or press on?

5. A common retort from victim and/or pro-registry advocates can be summarized as follows: “What about the victims?” If you were asked to respond to a question that based the need for the registry on the thoughts and feelings of victim advocates, how would you respond to this question?


1. Quoted by Michael Levine, Founder of Levine Communications Office, from “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”
2. Source: Kristen Purcell, Lee Rainie, Amy Mitchell, Tom Rosensteil & Kenny Olmstead. “Understanding the participatory news consumer.” Pew Research Center, March 1, 2010.
3. Dan Gunderson, “A Better Approach to Sex Offender Policy.” Minnesota Public Radio, June 18th, 2007. See also: Lisa L. Sample and Colleen Kadleck, “Sex Offender Laws: Legislators’ Accounts of the Need for Policy.” Criminal Justice Policy Review 2008; 19; 40
4. Rendall, Steve (2005-02-12). “The Fairness Doctrine: How We Lost it, and Why We Need it Back”. Common Dreams (Fairness and Accuracy In
Reporting). Retrieved 2008-11-13.
5. Boliek, Brooks (August 22, 2011). “FCC finally kills off fairness doctrine”. POLITICO.
6. McCombs, M; Reynolds, A (2002). “News influence on our pictures of the world”. Media effects: Advances in theory and research.
8. Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell. Propaganda and Persuasion. [Fourth Edition] Thousand Oaks CA, Sage Publications. 2006. p.7
9. Ibid., p.31-32
10. John Stossel, Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity. NYC, Hyperion Books, 2006. p.2-3
11. For some tips on writing an Op-Ed or letter to the editor, see the video from the 2014 RSOL Conference from Steven Yoder, “Writing Op-Eds and Letters
To The Editor.”
12. Barry Glassner, “Culture of Fear” (10th Anniversary Edition), NYC, Perseus Books, 2009. p. xvi
13. Catriona Pollard . “How to deal with different types of media interviews.” Monday, April 06, 2009
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid.
16. Source: Knight Community News Network.
17. Program Training and Consultation Centre, The Media Network | Challenging Types of Media Interviews.
18. Gregory Korte, “Housing, programs provide a magnet.” Cincinnati Enquirer, July 29, 2007.
19. Amy Cuddy, “Your body language shapes who you are.” TED Talks, Oct. 1, 2012.
20. From: Carol Kinsey Goman, “10 Simple and Powerful Body Language Tips for 2012.”, Jan. 3, 2012. http://www.forbes.
com/sites/carolkinseygoman/2012/01/03/10-simple-and-powerful-body-language-tips-for-2012/, and Carol Kinsey Goman, “10 Simple And Powerful Body Language Tips For 2014.”, Jan. 2, 2014.
21. See also RSOL 2013: “Telling Your Story to the Media.”
22. Program Training and Consultation Centre, The Media Network | Challenging Types of Media Interviews.
23. Ibid.