The Science of Winning Media Interviews

David Clementson gave a talk entitled “The Science of Winning Media Interviews” as part of a June 7, 2022, training session held by Maven Strategies, a Democratic political consulting firm in Raleigh, NC. The partners of the firm are women, and they specialize in women running in statewide and national campaigns. Clementson covered a series of 10 questions for political strategy, such as “When dealing with partisan media, whom should a politician give interviews to?”, “What if I don’t know the answer to a question?” and “How do I make my opponent seem deceptive?” All the topics were answered through discussing findings in peer-reviewed experiments Clementson has run.

David Clementson receives Top Paper Award

David Clementson received a Top Paper Award for “Let Me Tell You Our Side of the Story: Narrative Immersion in a Crisis Communication Media Interview.” Paper to be presented at the 70th International Communication Association conference Mass Communication division, Gold Coast, Australia.

Abstract: Drawing upon the concept of parasocial interaction (PSI) with a TV performer, this paper examines the impact of a company spokesperson using narratives to respond to a crisis during a media interview. Theorizing of mass-mediated PSI (Moyer-Gusé, 2008) holds that narrative messages effectively persuade by viewers experiencing a pseudorelationship with a media figure, followed by less counterarguing of the message. A randomized experiment (N = 365) is reported in which a spokesperson in a televised news interview is questioned about a scandal that has gone viral online, and the spokesperson responds with either (a) on-topic narratives, (b) off-topic narrative spinning, or (c) nonnarrative information. Multiple mediator modeling indicates nonnarrative information most effectively bolsters purchase intentions and reduces negative word-of-mouth. The effect is mediated by PSI with the spokesperson, followed by a decrease in counterargument. Consistent with the theory of crisis response narratives (Heath, 2004) and the theory of crisis and renewal in media relations (Seeger & Sellnow, 2016), viewers react most adversely to narrative spinning.