Media Interview Lessons from a 7-Year-Old (VIDEO)

Zuri of Atlanta Interview

Most people when you put a news camera in their face — freeze up like a deer in head-lights; for reasons we’ll never fully understand. Maybe it’s the idea that millions of people will see you on television, or maybe you’re trying to figure out how to capitalize on the opportunity, and you end up making an ass out of yourself by becoming over zealous.

This little girl named Zuri, whom after being stranded on a school bus for hours during a snowstorm in Atlanta last week; owned and captivated in this media interview — giving her spirited account of the ordeal. There are lessons to be learned from Zuri’s interview:

Comfortable In Her Skin. 

She maintained good eye contact with the reporter, looking away only momentarily to describe her range of emotions from the circumstance, there wasn’t a single “ummm…ahhhh…or ummm” throughout her commentary. Zuri flowed, she was well-spoken, and cute-as-a-button.

To the viewing audience this came across authentic and personable; however, kids are brutally honest anyway, and we love them for it… right?!

Confidence comes across on camera, and Zuri had a lot of it — be confident in your answer, think about why they asked to interview you? Because you are knowledgeable about the subject or situation, give the reporter and viewing audience the knowledgeable recount? What if President Obama asked you what happened, how would you explain it to him? Intelligently.. right? (Bad examples: Sweet Brown, Charles Ramsey, Antoine Dodson — we all know why the media chose them)

She Spoke in Sound Bites (She knew how to wrap-it-up!)

Broadcast reporters want short, succinct complete sentences, for editing purposes. The interview will be edited down to 5-10 seconds. The long drawn out rambling will not make the cut. Zuri knew her material (in her case .. her ordeal) she was quick, poised and knew what she wanted to convey. So what took you 5-10 minutes to do in the interview — will be cut down to a matter of seconds. Keep your sentences succinct and know what’s important.

“I was super scared,” she told WSB-TV. “I was like, if I don’t get home to my parents I’m going to freak out. … It’ll just be crazy. They’ll be calling me, and I don’t have my phone.”

She was Well-Spoken w/ Parents

It’s no secret that the media heavily relies on and seeks out bad examples, or negative stereotypes of African-Americans (Bad examples: Sweet BrownCharles RamseyAntoine Dodson — we all know why the media chooses people like them —- Missing front teeth, or Gold teeth, Hair Uncombed; Wrapped in bandannas,  Inarticulate, Coon caricatures, Tattered clothing etc.)

Therefore when this little girl opened her mouth and spoke clearly, concisely and coherently; I was so proud. She was a wonderful representation of black child rearing. She said “…my parents.” …denoting she’s one of the millions of black families with a two parent household. I often look at this interview and wonder if the reporter wagered on all that greatness coming from the interview. Damn great images of the Black family!


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