Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Hate Being On TV

I just got back from a TV interview. I doubt that it will look very good.

The lady had an idea what I should say, and I wasn't very successful at reading her mind. She wanted me to talk about how important it will be for the CRC and "us" to come to a compromise, because she had just interviewed John Garza, from the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, and he had told her that they just want to negotiate something everybody can live with. Which is of course is not the truth at all.

I started to explain that the problem is that the CRC won't compromise. I began describing the pilot testing, and how they are trying to disrupt it, instead of letting the school district find and fix problems. I described the letters, the robo-calls, the meeting, the media. And in the middle she just ... interrupted me. Changed the subject. So there I am, complaining about them, and then we're talking about how important the curriculum is for gay students. It can't make any sense to somebody watching.

It was interesting sitting in the green room shooting the breeze with a guy who was waiting to go in and criticize the curriculum; it was the guy the Times interviewed yesterday, or whenever it was. Seemed like a decent guy, has six kids. He has no idea what kind of mess he's stepped into here. The other guy in the green room, the supervisor for these shows, mentioned after my interview that he had received a letter from the CRC -- he has a kid at Sherwood -- saying that the schools wanted to teach the kids about anal sex and everything. "What are you supposed to think?" he said.

I hate being on TV. I hate it in the way that makes me want to figure out how to do this, how to get my point across in a couple of minutes, talking to a person who doesn't know anything at all about our situation. Or ... do I want to learn to do this? Do I want to learn to talk in sound bites?

Ah, I don't know what I want.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, you have always made us proud, so don't beat yourself up.
Some tips:

1) have three or four main points you want to make, and use them;
2) answer the question you want to answer and not necessarily what is asked;
3) if need be, restate the question as part of your answer so they can use your response as the whole story;
4) remember your audience - it is not the reporter - it is the folks watching t.v. - speak to them;
5) you know way more than anyone else, but you can only make a few points in 30 seconds or a minute;
6) develop an "evalator talk." Assume you only have 30 seconds to convince someone to support your efforts - what would you say?
7) Don't take the bait. If the reporter tries to get you to go negative and say something bad about the opposition, don't. Go back to one of your main talking points. Always take the high road - it reflects good not only on you but on what you are advocating.

I hope these tips help.

March 28, 2007 5:42 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Yes, Jim, we are always proud of you- it is the media that sucks.

March 28, 2007 6:06 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Andrea writes,

it is the media that sucks.

I don't know it is that they suck so much as it is that the media, esp. TV, can be incredibly reductionistic in covering an issue (such as sex ed) as a news story (such as the latest machinations of the CRC). That is why when TV crews cover the CRC protesting they focus on the signs eventhough they may not represent local opinion.

30 seconds to persuade? If it is TV I think that is the maximum you can hope, and even that time is likely to get chopped up into as many as three soundbites.

March 30, 2007 10:46 AM  

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