Appearance can be important. There is an old adage that recommends wearing solid and darker colored clothing and avoiding busy patterns and distracting jewelry. But it is much better to wear clothing that is comfortable to you than to overdress and wear something unfamiliar or uncomfortable. If you usually wear glasses, wear them for the interview. Remember that nothing detracts more from your appearance than appearing uncomfortable with yourself.
If you are asked to appear on a program, inquire about the program's format. Will it be strictly a question-and-answer session between you and a reporter? Will there be other guests? If so, who? Will you be on a panel? What issues are expected to be covered? When will the program air?
Try to ensure the reporter understands the background of the story. You can usually do so in a brief off-camera summary before an interview. On-camera, stick to the topic and don't complicate the discussion with unnecessary history and context. Remember that in most interviews much of what you say will often be reduced to 8 to 15 second “sound bites” and the rest will be interpreted through the reporter.
Outline a few key points you think are most important ahead of time. Look for openings to make those points during the interview. Feel free to return to those key points if the interviewer strays into areas you think are less important to the issue. You can transition back to a key point by saying things like “Well, that may be an issue that should be looked at, but I think it’s more important to understand that…” or “I really don’t have enough information to comment on that issue, but what I do know is…”
Look at the reporter. Talk directly to your interviewer, not the camera.
Try to be relaxed and conversational. You want to talk to the reporter much as you would be if you were discussing the same issue with a neighbor in your own backyard.
Remember that taped interviews are almost always edited. You can pause to collect your thoughts or stop and correct yourself if you make a mistake.
You may want to suggest a location on campus for the interview. You may want to take advantage of an opportunity to use a setting that distinguishes the campus of WSU during the interview, perhaps a location in front of a familiar WSU landmark or building.