An NBC News producer approached me with the opportunity for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) to respond to a major news story concerning multivitamins. How do you prepare your subject matter expert (SME) for a television interview with NBC News/TODAY in defense of the $60 billion dietary supplement industry?
After doing some preliminary research and confirming, yes, CRN wanted to participate the interview, here are the next steps I took:
- Prepared talking points for my subject matter expert
- Created and sent a backgrounder document/synopsis of facts for the NBC producer and journalist/on-air talent
- Conducted multiple practice interviews with my SME to ensure she was prepared to answer a range of potential interview questions
- Nailed down details—like staging the SME’s office (background/visuals), ensuring proper lighting, and helping my SME select camera-friendly attire
- Filmed B-roll video of SME in multiple scenarios for footage NBC could intercut with the main interview
- Sent CRN’s consumer tips to NBC producer for inclusion in the story
The TODAY interview was successful! Not only was my SME well-prepared to answer the journalist’s questions, she also looked and sounded great on camera. Because of our preparation, my SME was able to effectively present CRN’s position about the multivitamin issue. The journalist also included in her story some of the consumer tips I shared with her producer.