Qualifications Of A Public Information Officer

Every department, regardless of size and type (volunteer, combination or professional) should have a designated public information officer.


When setting up an interview, reporters have a few responsibilities themselves. They include:

IDENTIFYING THEMSELVES and the organization they represent.

STATING THE PURPOSE of the interview, what is it all about? They should give you some idea of what the interview is all about so you can do your research. There is no problem asking what specific questions they are going to ask in advance of the interview.

ASKING FOR A SPECIFIC TIME AND PLACE for the interview and they should tell you about how long it will take for the interview.

ASKING YOU IF WOUNDN'T MIND ANSWERING A FEW QUESTIONS - This is the Miranda warning for reporters. After you agree, that means they can use anything you say from that point on until they leave the scene, not just during the interview.

NOT STANDING YOU UP - If the media requests to do an interview, they are supposed to honor that request. Rarely, but on occasion, you will be stood up. Sometimes while they are enroute to do the interview a breaking story occurs and they are detoured by the news director to cover the breaking event. They should at least call and tell you what happened. It doesn't happen very often, if it does; do not let it upset you.

THE MEDIA IS NOT OBLIGATED TO USE YOUR INTERVIEW - Sometimes you will do an interview and then they do not use it. Many reasons can occur why it was not used and it is not a good practice to call ask why it wasn't used. Sometimes the interview is used for gathering information and they only use the interview to write the story.

YOU SHOULD NEVER ASK IF YOU CAN SEE OR READ A STORY BEFORE IT RELEASED BY THE MEDIA. They are not obligated to do so and they will be strongly offended if you ask.

Before you agree to do an interview, make sure it is approved by your superiors and you are able to do the interview. If you are not sure, tell them you will call them back and let them know. Once you agree to do an interview, follow through. DO NOT CANCEL an interview, if you do it appears you are hiding something and they will never leave you alone.


I next's month's article we will continue to exam the process of interviews, going into more depth on interview tips and determing who should be selected to represent your department.

If you have any questions or comments, please call me at 702-229-0145 or e-mail me at tszymanski@ci.las-vegas.nv.us.