Lies Nice Christian Journalists Tell You.

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to work with Christian journalists. They are serious journalists who have studied their field and honed their craft in writing and broadcast, and are people I respect. As journalists, they are looking for compelling stories to interest their audience, but they are also believers who are committed to serving the Lord by bringing stories and teaching to their audience that helps the audience members grow in their faith.

And as I’ve said to some clients, you don’t need to fear these journalists — we’re on the same team.

But one of the “lies” they may tell you, is to give you the impression that they have all the time in the world for you.

They don’t.  

But it might look that way.

Smart interviewers know that to get the liveliest interviews, they need to be cordial and cooperative with their guests so they loosen up. Though they are genuinely friendly and nice people interested in you, keeping their guests relaxed and smiling is part of their job. So they are typically quite friendly in the interview situation, especially in those minutes before the interview starts.

But don’t misunderstand this.

As a rule of thumb, consider that their time is extremely valuable.  They run on a clock. They time interviews. They time the amount they spend chatting with you ahead of time to get you warmed up. You may hear them say, we have 22 minutes. That’s someone paying attention to time.

So even if they say sure, they would love to see pictures of your dog or your grandkids, I’d hesitate before I believed them. If you ask, many of them won’t say no, but they don’t really have time for that. Or you may have just cut into the available interview time because they only have the studio at their radio station booked for 30 minutes.

Most of them also have perfected how to deflect conversations that are getting too long, but don’t make it hard for them.

So when they are quite friendly, be friendly back and listen as long as they want to chat with you, but don’t assume because they’ve spent 10 minutes telling you about their new puppy, that you are equals and you can show them your puppy.

In addition, it’s fine for you to let them know you are aware of their time constraints. When you get interviewed, it’s always a good idea to ask (or to confirm), how much time do we have for the interview? Sometimes plans will have changed from what you were told previously. And they won’t mind that question – they will welcome you respecting their schedule.

But make sure you’ve reviewed the info you’ve been given already about the show and the journalist, and don’t further waste their time asking them to explain something you should already know.

Don’t interrupt them in the middle of their story to ask these questions, of course, just remember to hear the ticking of the clock.

Understanding how the world of a journalist works is something a good publicist knows, and one of the reasons why journalists prefer working with authors who have publicists. It saves them time, and makes it easier for them not only because the PR people understand how to line up the interviews and do the follow up, but because a good PR person understands a bit more about the needs and goals of the journalist to give them what they need, handle the guest who is being interviewed, and get out of the way.

Hopefully these tips will help you develop good relationships with the Christian media, which will be a blessing, but will also help you get more interviews and also be of service to these journalists.

Originally sent as an email to the Buoyancy community on March 19, 2021.
Joni Sullivan Baker
jbaker@buoyancypr.com