How to handle an interviewer’s mistake

It’s fine to correct an inaccuracy, but do so in a way that doesn’t make you look embittered or on edge.

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Like everybody else, journalists can make mistakes.

The importance of accuracy is drilled into us journalists from our very first day in the newsroom, but we are still human.

For example, a TV or radio reporter might make a mistake in conducting an interview. A question might be based on incorrect facts or a misunderstanding of the information or background.

How interviewees react at such a moment can be a telling indication of their state of mind or the pressure they feel both inside and outside the studio. This is particularity the case if the spokesperson and his or her organization are under fire or investigation.

The important thing to realize is why an interviewer might make a mistake, why a question might be inaccurate. Nine times out of 10 the reporter is blameless.

News is a fast-moving business. The host of a three-hour breakfast news program might conduct 30 interviews per morning.

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