When counter-extremism experts get airtime on TV, the radio, podcasts, or when they talk to print editors, it is oftentimes in a context of attacks thwarted by the authorities or, alas, committed by terrorists. While journalists tend to keep interviews simple enough for most of their audience to understand, they also tend to keep the questions they are about to ask for themselves. This is a practice which has clear downsides.
Experts to be interviewed will typically have to resort to generalities because they will have had little chance to prepare, only disposing of the broad topic of the forthcoming interview or of the event which prompted the journalist to have them on his or her show, and of some aspects of the evolving investigation.
I opt for experts to insist on knowing the approximate questions which a journalist will ask. In consequence, the experts would not need to rely on their general knowledge only – but be able to dive deeper into the subject matter. They will still be able to convey their messages understandably, however with their answers more well-founded, to an extent, in the interest of the general audience.
Thorsten Koch, MA, PgDip
15 February 2021