Checklist:  Common Media Opportunity Pitfalls — Source: The Advocacy Institute, Washington, DC

Unfortunately, no one can guarantee that if you include every element suggested you will be assured a perfect media campaign. However, if you recognize some common pitfalls, you can prevent your advocacy efforts from becoming a lost opportunity. Here is a checklist of common pitfalls when working with the media:
"Column inches envy"
All too often, staff or volunteers within an organization, or in allied organizations, resent the success of a spokesperson who is called upon time and again to speak for the cause. While it may be inevitable that the media will continue to turn to the most informed and most persuasive. Resist the pressures to subdue an effective voice simply because others are envious.
Wrong Spokesperson
Your best spokesperson may or may not be you — or the boss. Your organizational culture may encourage volunteers to speak for the organization while professional staff members are expected to remain in the background. That may be a fine practice for many occasions — but not necessarily for handling a professionally trained adversarial spokesperson. The head of your organization may be the right name on a press release, or the named author of an op-ed articles, but not an effective broadcast presence. Of course, choosing the right spokesperson sometimes requires exquisite tact, and considerable courage.
"Ghettoizing" media responsibility within your organization
It is not uncommon for organizations to relegate media work to the press or public affairs office. Because media advocacy is critical to the goals of the entire organization, those responsibilities should be spread more broadly within the organization.
Debating (even winning) the wrong fight
Alcohol industry advocates can be maddeningly provocative. Their claims and accusations may sting so sharply that the alcohol policy advocate is drawn into elaborate denials or quibbling over tangential issues. Ignore the attacks and return to your strong themes and high ground.
Don't be intimidated by a famous host or a sweet talking industry spokesperson. Don't mistake passivity for civility. If you don't like the way a question is framed, restate the issue, and proceed to answer the question that should have been asked.
You're trying to persuade a general audience, not impress a group of experts. Don't ramble. Stay with one or two clear points at a time. Speak simple, plain English (or the language of the the show). Use short, recognizable words. Don't filibuster; come up for air. Let your opponent get a few words in edgewise, but don't allow him or her to pass off misleading information as truth. Challenge falsehood tactfully.
Wasting opportunities/getting drawn off track
There's a danger in getting too comfortable with a charming and gracious host and being drawn off into an interesting side issue that does not advance your policy goals. You may think you've got all the time in the world, but even an hour-long talk show can pass by so quickly (if you're having fun) that you lose the opportunity to hammer home your main points. Don't allow the show to stray far from your program goals, if you can help it.
Losing with your face and body language what you win with your hands
Scowling doesn't win many friends, nor does looking bored and distracted when you're not talking but remain on camera. Tension and anger can also be conveyed by your unconscious body language. A small, sad smile and a gently but clearly noticeable shaking of the head can effectively convey to an audience that you know what they know — that this fellow is a paid mouthpiece and is talking nonsense. A subtle gesture may be much more effective than a scowl or a laugh — and more effective than interrupting
Being Unprepared
Needs no explanation
Being Overprepared
If your words and mannerisms sound memorized or rehearsed, they lose much of their punch. Your arguments and main points should be thoroughly and comfortably worked out in advance but not rigid formulas committed to memory.
Relying on one's status or credentials
If you think that a skeptical host or an industry spokesperson will treat you respectfully because you have impressive curriculum vitae or are a high-ranking executive of a prestigious organization, think again. Television and radio programming does not favor status or credentials alone.
Bullying, lecturing
Don't lecture or appear to speak down to you host or adversary. It makes the audience feel that you're lecturing or attacking them, and that is no way to win friends and influence people.
Mistaking cuteness and cleverness for wit and humor
Wit and humor are wonderful weapons to disarm a skeptical host or hostile adversary, but not every would-be humorist is good at it. Don't reach for humor or sardonic slogans or labels, unless unbias4d friends or colleagues confirm that you're good at it. Otherwise, be serious and straight. It's safer.