The news media seem to have an insatiable appetite for speculation, comment and analysis. Before a report is due out, its possible contents are discussed by experts. On its release, there is an on-the-scene report from outside a building where the announcement was made. After the event, another panel of experts gathers around the studio desk to dissect, discuss and digest the results. That's the way it works.
So how do you react if you are caught up in this news maelstrom? One thing is certain. You won't have a great deal of time to prepare yourself, particularly if it isn't a report, but a breaking news story. Here are a few tips if you find yourself in front of a camera as the first expert to comment:
* Deliver simple information that is easy to remember
* Never speculate
* A good sound bite will take seconds to deliver - but may have a lasting impact
* Write down your key message and keep it in your pocket (believe me, this works)
* Never lie
* After 30 seconds, people are losing interest
* If you have nothing to say, don't go on air
* If all else fails, just say how you feel
In summary, keep it brief, honest and sincere. That's it.