Before you meet the media, you must decide what your objectives are. What are the main points you want to get across to your interviewers? When you wake up in the morning and read the newspaper, exactly what kind of story about your topic or your company do you want to see?
No matter how well prepared you are, the story is not going to be told entirely from your perspective. And even if your wishes are granted, your story may be presented in a way that alters the public's perception of you in ways you had not planned. Here's an example: A visiting bishop came to a large city to deliver a speech at a banquet. Because he wanted to use some of the same stories at a meeting he was attending the next day, he asked reporters present at the banquet not to print the stories in their accounts of his talk. One newspaper reporter, commenting on the speech, concluded his article by writing: "and the bishop told a lot of stories that cannot be published."
What lesson can you learn from the bishop? If you're talking to the press, make sure you pick out the main points you want to get across and that the interviewer picks them up and isn't sidetracked by a colorful aspect of your talk that you are trying to downplay. For example, if you're being interviewed about a new product, decide ahead of time what product benefits you want to get across. Make those benefits crystal clear in your mind and focus on them throughout your interview. Don't allow yourself to be sidetracked from your objectives, no matter how dogged the interviewer is.
Make sure your points will be of interest to the public at large. Newspapers, television, and radio are public forums, and reporters know their news stories must relate to current public interests.