After almost 14 years of active participation on various leading media platforms as a broadcaster, and for the larger part of those years spent interviewing local, regional, and international newsmakers, you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you that I personally hate giving interviews. But I do. On average, and towards the end of my broadcasting career, I was doing about 240 interviews per year with some of the world's most remarkable people and this was about a third of what I was doing in my earlier years. I’ve been very privileged, but ask me for an interview about myself and chances are that I will say no. My “no” isn’t just because I don’t particularly think I am an interesting subject; I’m just scared that it might not come out the way I would like..I have been badly scarred. Years ago, as a young radio presenter of a local radio station, a publication approached the station and asked to do a feature interview on all its weekday radio personalities. A lot of effort was put into these interviews, with the station even going as far as organising clothes from fashion stores for the photoshoot. The publication would do a feature on all the radio presenters, giving readers insight on the men and women behind the microphones. The photo shoot went well, and interviews were done. A week after that, the publication had hit the shelves country wide and the radio station began to promote the print copies with its team of weekday presenters on the cover..I don’t know what the other presenters’ interviews read like, but I can tell you that mine started with “Phenyo’s greatest day on radio was when a white person listened to his show.” What the actual f$%#? Of course I didn’t say this! But it was out there, in 5000 or so print copies of the publication. I made a desperate attempt to try buy what I could find on the shelves - a waste of time and money, by the way. I also highly doubt that all 5000 copies would ever be bought, but some damage was already done to my brand..What I actually said was that I was happy with the impact radio had on peoples lives, and how in particularly I believed I had positively impacted audiences with the kind of content I created for radio. I spoke about crossing barriers and inclusiveness. In all this, I shared a story about a South African national, who happened to be white, and just didn’t listen to local radio, despite having lived here for years. I raised questions about whether our local media content was entertaining, informative and inclusive enough to attract listeners of South African radio, to grow audience numbers and revenue. I went on to share that the “white lady” had stumbled upon one of my radio shows for the first time and felt engaged enough to reach out and talk about how for the first time in her stay here she felt like she was a part of the conversation. What was even more interesting for me was that she began to advertise her businesses on my show. That’s the summary of what happened and what I told the journalist interviewing me. “Phenyo’s greatest day on radio was when a white person listened to his show,” is what you would have read if you picked up a copy of the publication. I fear that the interview is floating around the world wide web too..I’m certainly not saying that this is an all-round representation of journalism online, on print and on broadcast media, but it happens. It happened to me. Was this my fault? Did I not articulate myself well enough? Did I share a long-winded story and confused the journalist? Should I have said no or read up more on who was conducting the interview? Was this journalist not paying attention? Is this why some people refuse interviews? Did I not have a right to see the copy before print? All these questions are possible answers..I believe journalists must work harder at building a solid reputation for the work they do. People must trust you with their words. It’s good for audience and revenue growth, especially during tough times like these when advertising budgets are reducing, and audiences have so much variety to choose from. Media houses need to invest in developing a reputation as being trustworthy in this new environment of fake news. Equally, those being interviewed need to do a bit of work too, understanding who they are speaking to, what they want to say and how they are going to say it to get their desired results. If you’re giving an interview, paid or not, you need to be on top of your game and do everything possible to ensure that there is a good return on your time and content. Media engagement needs practice and preparation. If done right, the results are amazing.