When Journalists Call: Advice on Handling Media Requests
As a member of UZH, you can provide the media with information about your research and teaching at any time.
Media requests about other people, controversial topics, crises, emergencies, or official UZH statements should be forwarded to our team (see Contact).
Ask us if you need help.
If you get a call from a journalist and are unsure about how to react, you should get in touch with us (phone: 044 634 44 67).
Take your time.
If a journalist catches you unprepared or if you need time to think about your answers, you can agree to call them back later. However, you should keep to the agreed time, as journalists usually work to tight deadlines.
Write down the name and editorial team.
If you agree to an interview, write down the journalist's contact details. Ask about the context in which your statements will be made.
You decide what you want to say.
See the interview as an opportunity to present your research, your project, or your expertise to the public. Come up with two or three key messages that you want to communicate – even if the journalist doesn’t ask about them. Try to explain by giving examples.
Prepare for difficult questions.
You should expect to be asked difficult questions and prepare answers for them in advance. Never say “no comment.” Try to explain why you can’t or won’t answer the question instead.
Give simple, direct answers. Keep it short.
Journalists like short answers that they can quote. Avoid technical jargon and explain the topic as simply as possible. Stick to the facts.
Nothing is “off the record.”
Don’t say anything that you don’t want to read about in the newspaper afterwards – even if the interview formally appears to be over.
Proofread quotes and facts.
For complex topics, you can offer to check the facts in the text for the journalists before it’s published. Ask to proofread your quotes.
Request a correction if the media report contains serious errors. But you should also let the journalist know if you’re happy with their report.