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Yale University Sports Publicity
Dealing with the Media
by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director

Staff /Responsibilities / Dealing with the Media
Incoming Student Media Form

Working with media, both local and national, may be the most important function of the Yale Sports Publicity Office, which arranges most of the interviews for coaches and student-athletes. If you are a coach or a member of a varsity team, the following information could help you prevent a difficult situation when being interviewed. This advice might stop you from doing or saying something to a member of the media that you would regret.

  • Please respect the media and realize its power
  • Coaches may need to help their athletes to understand the media and its power
  • When a reporter covers a team, coaches and athletes should be able help with introductions, provide basic information, direct the reporter to things or people and make that person feel comfortable around the team.
  • Blogs, social media can often be as important as TV, radio, newspapers

Video Message on Dealing with Media by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director



  • If you are not sure about facts, say you will get back to them
  • Explaining that you are unable to comment is acceptable
  • Understand the reporter may have an "agenda"
  • Have your own agenda
  • Spin on the answer is your choice
  • Sarcasm can't help
  • Return all phone calls
  • You are the expert: command presence
  • Eye contact
  • Voice projection
  • Avoid word traps ("i mean... you know")
  • Cooperate in good times and bad: media like to find villains
  • Don't be defensive
  • Anticipate questions
  • Never blame anyone
  • Say it in 20 seconds or less (TV or radio)
  • If you talk long enough, you will say something you regret
  • Identify interesting information
  • Don't be rushed because of their deadline
  • Remember names and faces
  • Thank writers for articles/coverage (are you satisfied)
  • Be positive and have fun, smile


  • Cooling off time is important, let the emotions rest
  • Coaches may want to get away from their players to be interviewed
  • The game's outcome should not effect how you deal with sensitive questions
  • Understand reporters' jobs and deadlines


  • Appear professional in every way
  • The first meeting can leave a lasting impression
  • What you wear for a TV interview might be more important than meeting with a writer, unless a photographer will be there
  • Coaches may need to direct their athletes in this area
  • Do not wear sunglasses
  • Try to pick a representative background


  • Go to the Athletic Director and then bring in the sports publicity if you need advice
  • Remember that everything seems to get out eventually
  • Rumors are dangerous
  • Refusing to talk to reporters will hurt you and your team
  • It is better to say that you can not comment on something rather than "No comment!"


  • Information source for the media
  • Work with coaches and their athletes and the media
  • Report the good and the bad (in most cases), but not the confidential information


  • If you are interested in giving an exclusive story, let us know before doing anything
  • You may have a relationship with members of the media, but make sure they know when you are talking business


  • Relationships with media can influence their coverage
  • Success of your team or program and its tradition
  • You may get less coverage when a newspaper is not selling enough advertisements, there isn't enough space, etc.
  • Talk to us about trying to get more coverage
  • Politics do influence coverage decisions


  • Please help and direct photographers just as you would reporters
  • Remember there are exceptions to almost all of these rules
  • If you are not comfortable with us giving out students' emails/phone numbers to known media members, please let us know


  • Never write anything electronically that you would not want published for all to see
  • Expect a camera to be out at every social event and game
  • Check your social media accounts to make sure you are well presented
  • If you see any potential crisis coming down the road, please let us know.

The following members of the Yale media are institutions that we deal with regularly:

Student Media -- Yale Daily News, Yale Herald,
Professional Media -- Yale Alumni Magazine, Yale Bulletin & Calendar

  • Sports Publicity Office neither controls nor advises these media outlets
  • Student-athletes and student-reporters could live, eat, work together (convenient sources)
  • Student media covering teams should meet with head coaches before season
  • Politics involved in professional media/school relationships similar in student media


  • New Haven Register
  • Connecticut Post
  • Hartford Courant
  • Fox, NBC, CBS in Hartford
  • News/Talk 960 WELI (AM Radio)


"If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything... though you always want to give them something."

"Control your emotions"

"Be aware how easily you can be misunderstood... things are easily taken out of context."

"There are ways to put a spin on everything."


updated 7/8/11