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From Nardi Media

Is It OK To Decline A Media Request?

It can be an exhilarating feeling when you receive an interview request from the media! After much anticipation and wondering when you’ll have an opportunity to share your message with the world, the time has finally come!


The excitement settles in, and once you learn the logistical details and interview timing, perhaps you feel panic: The interview request time is smack in the middle of a parent-teacher conference that would be impossible to reschedule. The doctor appointment you’ve been waiting for months to get in would be missed. You would need to move important patient or client appointments and meetings to accommodate the interview request.


I often preach to be ready to drop everything, and I mean everything, for the right media opportunity. Reporters and producers are always working on a deadline, and interview requests often demand and require that they happen on the very same day you receive the request. Live radio or TV interviews can happen the same day, or even the next morning, giving you little time to scramble and rearrange what is sure to be your busy schedule! 


If you’re game to shuffle your schedule and scramble, then great! Go ahead and make the arrangements and say “yes” to that interview!


But if you’re anything like me, saying “yes” to an interview could mean sacrificing other aspects of your life and cause a negative impact on your well-being. In the past several years, I’ve had many lessons about giving myself permission to say “no” in order to protect my well-being and my family’s. I used to think I had to say “yes” to every opportunity that came my way because it would open up so many more doors and opportunities. In theory, that could be true, and often, it does. But other times, saying “yes” to opportunities such as speaking engagements and media requests would require me to completely rearrange my schedule, cause stress not only in my life but in my family’s, and at the end of the day, energetically drain me because of all of the juggling and rearranging I had to do in my life to accommodate an interview or a speaking opportunity.


If you receive a media request, first, congratulate yourself and be proud. Then, I want you to take a deep breath and give yourself permission to say “no” if you must.


That’s right. You have a right to decline an interview request from the media, and there may be a few reasons to do so:


  1. Doing this interview would interfere with you or your family’s schedule and cause added stress in your life. To my point above, I want you to get yourself permission to “politely decline” a request if the timing just doesn’t work out for your life. You can always ask the reporter or producer if they have the flexibility to do it another time (sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t), but at the end of the day, I want you to do what is best for you and if that means declining, then do so. Then let the reporter or producer know that you would love to be of help to them in the future! There will always be more media opportunities and this could be a nice opportunity to build a new meaningful connection with the press!
  2. You aren’t the right person to comment on the topic that the reporter is working on. If you’re not the right expert, it is OK to say so, and suggest someone else who may be a better fit. What is better than paying it forward AND helping out a reporter at the same time? I promise you will be remembered for it!
  3. The interview topic would violate any legal matters, employee privacy, or litigation involving yourself or your company. If the subject matter of the interview interferes with any of these matters, you can also “politely decline” and move about your day. No need to give further explanation to the reporter.


Of course, I always want you to say “yes” to an interview more often than saying “no”, but I find myself telling people (to their surprise!) that it is totally OK to decline an interview request as well!


Take freedom in knowing this, my friend! Your life and well-being are more important than moving mountains to accommodate someone else, whether it is a media request or any other opportunity that may come your way.


Tracy Mccubbin


"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 


Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.

New York Times Best Selling Author of Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free

"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 


Susan McGinnis

Correspondent, CBS Newspath

“I am so pleased that Ashley is embarking on this new venture. For many years she has shined as an outstanding booker and producer at CBS News and at start-ups including Clean Skies News.  She was my first hire at Clean Skies, and was the shining star among the pack. She has always had  tremendous dedication to her work, and an untiring ability to accomplish whatever faces her, letting no obstacle stand in the way of an outstanding product.  She consistently goes above and beyond expectations, and never takes “no” as an answer, and never settles for less than outstanding. I would hire Ashley again. And again. And again.”


Jennifer Oko

Partner, Mad Squid Media

“Ashley and I have worked together is a few different capacities, including CBS News, energyNOW!. I cannot say enough good things about her. Ashley is smart, thorough, quick, creative, and incredibly hard working. Most importantly, to be a successful media liaison and guest booker, relationships are everything. Ashley is a genuinely lovely person, and she wins the respect and trust of everyone she works with. She is the first person I call whenever I need a guest booker or segment producer.”


Margaret Ryan

Energy Journalist & Analyst

“Ashley Bernardi is a dynamic professional who consistently produces excellent results.  In my three years working with Ashley as the head booker at Clean Skies News/EnergyNOW!, I never saw her fail to complete a job she had been assigned – and complete it admirably. Ashley is creative, energetic and goal-oriented, a true team player who works congenially with other professionals but can also be relied on to execute an assignment on her own. Ashley is the person I wanted on my team when I faced a challenging assignment!”


Hardy Spire

Senior Producer, CNN’s Reliable Sources. Former General Manager at CleanSkies News and Senior Producer at CBS News.

“Ashley Bernardi has every rare quality in a TV producer — aggressiveness, insight, creativity, a strong work ethic, and pure charm.  She has all this plus she’s a kind and positive person.  And she has great contacts!”


Silvio Marcacci

Principal, Marcacci Communications

“Ashley is hands down the best media trainer I’ve ever worked with, and she uses her considerable producing experience to make clients feel at ease and ready to learn. In addition, her ability to book clients on television and radio interviews is quite impressive – be ready for hours of interviews if you’re working with her!”


Mary Jordan

Washington Post National Correspondent and Founding Editor of Washington Post Live

“There is nothing Ashley Bernardi cannot do when it comes to media.  She books top people for TV shows and national conferences and knows the business inside out. I worked closely with Ashley at the Washington Post  and she is not only savvy, but great to be around. She is the always cheerful, smart voice on the other end of the phone who persuades busy people to drop everything they are doing and do what Ashley tells them.”


Scott Behson, PhD

best-selling author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home

“I was a relatively unknown first-time author and Ashley was fantastic in getting my name out there, and ultimately booking me on national TV and radio, as well as major podcasts. She also provided top-notch media training and was always a great listener and advisor. Finally, she was on top of everything and we communicated constantly. I couldn’t have been happier about her efforts on behalf of my book launch!”


Ron Friedman, Ph.D

author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

“Ashley Bernardi is extraordinary at her job in every way. Smart, strategic and relentlessly energetic, Ashley is someone I’d want on my team in any public relations campaign.”