Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

October 1, 2015

"So You Want To Interview Polyamorous People?"

Longtime polyactivist Maxine Green in the UK (who originated the bunny-ears thing and draws the Chaosbunny comic) is a very out spokesperson to the media. So she gets a lot of requests. She's not shy about turning them down and advising the community to shun media opportunities that seem uninformed or exploitive.

Today she posted advice to media people themselves who wonder why they can't get polyfolks to respond:  So You Want To Interview Polyamorous People? (October 1, 2015).

I won't excerpt it, just go read it, especially if you might like to go public someday.


In the article's last section, "Where to find Poly People?" she left out something important. Robyn Trask, director of the Loving More nonprofit, maintains a resource list of excellent out polyfolks who are willing to speak to knowledgeable journalists.

If you might like to get on Robyn's list, phone her! She's a pro; she can help train you in what to ask about media outfits who come knocking, how to negotiate with them on a level footing, and basics of how to represent yourself and your message well.

That last is crucial, especially for TV. The camera is harsh. The camera never blinks. My own tips, picked up in part from pros:

● Know the audience, then dress, groom, and act like them. . . . or like the people they respect.

● Emphasize the aspects of yourself that help your message. De-emphasize aspects of yourself that distract from your message.

● Write out a bunch of key sound bites that you want to get across. (Some suggestions, though they're kind of dated.) Memorize your sound bites, and rehearse them in front of a camera or mirror. Wherever the discussion goes, turn it around into a chance to put one of them across.

● Act animated, relaxed, happy -- please not frozen. Use body language! If you're with partners, fawn over each other. You're an actor, playing a version of yourself. If you don't like it that you have to be an actor, stay off camera.

● Say not one word, display not one expression, that you don't want to see on TV! Not even after you think the interview is over. Too often, people who get furious with the media "misrepresenting" them gave the media poor material to show. They can only show what you give them. Choose what you give them.

● If you really flub something, stop midstream, pause a moment, and start over fresh. They'll only use one take. If you accidentally blurt something you don't want used, immediately say "Actually that's not true" and then start again and say what you meant to.

● Be prepared to walk away. Robyn and her partner Jesus V. Garcia were once flown expense-paid to New York for a national TV show. Backstage shortly before show was about to start, they discovered that its announced theme was sleazier than they had been led to expect. They conferred, walked out the door, hailed a cab, and flew home without looking back. They're proud of it to this day. Remember you can do that.

Anything you'd like to add? Use the comments below.


P.S.: Joreth Innkeeper, poly activist since ever, has assembled media training guides "to help you learn how to screen the media, how to craft your Public Persona, how to develop soundbites, how to dress for an interview, and how to improve your public speaking for lectures and workshops." She has provided one-on-one help in the past and "is available to come to your conference or community to provide a group Media Training workshop."




Anonymous Michael Rios said...

I've been interviewed a number of times, and even when the interviewer seemed potentially hostile, things went well.

One trick is to watch a political interview. Frequently, the person being interviewed does not answer the question asked--they just use a transition phrase and go on to what they wanted to say. "That's an interesting question--" and then say whatever you want, even ignoring the question completely. (There are *many* other possible phrases as well, of course.)

Don't be afraid that they will keep hammering you if you blow off a question; these shows are entertainment, not debate clubs, and repetition doesn't make for good entertainment. If you pass over a topic, and especially if you say something interesting that invites follow-ups, they are unlikely to go back to a previous question.

At this point, there are *lots* of people who have been interviewed on various shows. If you can find some of them to watch, that would also be a good preparation. (Has someone collected links to various poly interviews that potential interviewees could use for this purpose?)

October 02, 2015 4:43 AM  

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