It's not the end of the world.
I was once contacted by a local news anchor (with whom I regularly interacted on Twitter and Facebook) to do an on-camera interview about social media usage. She connected me with the field reporter covering the story. After a phone pre-interview, he scheduled an on-camera meeting at my office.
I've done numerous TV, radio, newspaper, and media interviews as a spokesperson, subject matter expert, and author. Media interviews, especially on TV, are an opportunity to get my name out and polish my on-camera skills.
About 45 minutes before the reporter and photographer were to arrive, I cleared my calendar, cleaned my office (recently disheveled due to a conference and travel), and prepared myself physically and mentally. Then I waited.
The reporter didn't show up. Before even turning on the TV, I knew I'd been bumped by "Breaking News."
The Bump Strikes
The "bump." As in, "Your interview has been displaced by something more newsworthy." The reporter called to apologize, explaining he'd been called to a crime scene. My response? "No worries. It happens."
If it happens to you, that's the attitude to have.
I've been bumped before. As a PR associate, I once scheduled a TV reporter to interview one of our doctors, only to have it canceled for a car fire. I was disappointed, but that's part of the business. Hosting a Sunday morning radio show, I was even bumped off the air by coverage of the invasion of Iraq. And before Covid, clients booked for interviews were sometimes bumped by breaking news.
Being bumped can be frustrating, but I try to stay positive about it. Usually, the person who scheduled you will remember your good sportsmanship, and they'll call again — they have for me, and they likely will for you.
But Don’t Be a Doormat
That said, I've been bumped without explanation. About four years ago, after an hour-long round-trip drive and what I thought was a great interview on a local TV station's podcast, they never posted it. No response to my inquiries.
Unprofessional, to say the least—but I simply moved on, vowing never to work with them again. (And I haven’t.) That’s way different than being bumped with a reason. It’s arrogant and rude.
Smile and See You Next Time
Ultimately, most bumps are because of the nature of the news biz, and that’s understandable. Just remember: if you get bumped, smile, tell the reporter you understand, and let them know you're available next time.
Then, fire up the Commodores.
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