I am an assistant professor at a major research university, and I often get calls from our communications director wanting me to share my particular expertise in an interview for a news story. She’s very insistent on my responding right away, which is very annoying. Why can’t they wait for a convenient time for me to do the interview? Is this standard practice for public relations people, or should I confront her on this?
It depends. Do you want to be in the story? Or do you want to be left out? The reason the communications director is so insistent is that the reporter has told her that he or she has a tight deadline, and if you don’t do the interview before that time, you will not be quoted. They will quote someone else. No matter how important your expertise is – or how much it will contribute to the story – rarely will a media outlet delay publishing a story to fit in with your schedule. There is always someone else they can quote instead. So please go easy on your PR person. She is on your side.