Disaster zones are news. It is impossible to avoid the media, nor should we try. But it is critical to remember that the media's job and our job are not the same. Their job is to report a story. Ours it to provide disaster relief. They may be friendly but they are not our friends. That is not their role.
Most reporters are hard-working and ethical, but not all of them. They are like the rest of us that way. Their motivations can range from doing their best to cover a fast-moving complex story in ways that will resonate with readers / listeners / viewers to attempting to rack up bylines to impress an editor or sensationalizing events to improve webpage stats and advertising revenue.
Reporters are smart and savvy: Their job is to gather information however they can, which includes flattery. Don't let down your guard. If you are uncomfortable with a line of questioning, direct the reporter to Eric or Alex. Just because a reporter asks you a question does not mean you have to answer it.
The reporting process is messy. Things can and do go haywire in editing, so it is really important to make sure reporters have thorough and complete information.
Again, when in doubt, send the reporter to Eric or Alex!
In 2015, we hope to schedule a special workshop called a Media Crucible that focuses on how to be interviewed. We will meet a set of professional print and broadcast journalists who will advise us on presentation: how to dress, walk, talk, sit, look, answer, ask questions and start and end an interview. There will be practice interviews and practice scenarios. We will learn how to redirect questions with answers more relevant to what we want people to know, how to deflect an aggressive interrogation politely and some of the clever strategies reporters use to obtain information.