As I got off the plane in Christchurch yesterday morning and switched my phone on, it buzzed. The email was a request from a BBC TV World News producer requesting a live interview on uncertainty for families on flight MH370. I was simultaneously excited and anxious. How did this email arrive with me of all people? Was I going to do it? If so – how? I was busy all day and then had a hotel room with limited internet bandwidth.
I thought about it as I drove to my first appointment, and pulled over to send my cellphone number to the producer in London to indicate my acceptance of the invitation to be interviewed, but to talk through what might come up. The producer was very professional and called me back at the suggested time. After talking through the possible lines of questions, I was happy to carry on. The interview would be via skype, and we would test the link 30 mins before going on air. The interview would be live, and would probably run for 3 minutes or so.
As they patched me into the link, I could see my bandwidth being chewed up at a pretty fast rate. I lost the feed at one point, as i had to enter a code to release another chunk of 200MB of data. I got the producer a message that I probably had another 5 minutes of data left at this rate, and they made the decision to move me up the interview chain in seconds – very professional.
The room was dark, and you can’t see my face very well, but here is the result. The background work included some calling back to the office to get a couple of key papers sent to me so I could recap a particular point I needed to make (thank, Tom Huggins), a call to a friend who has worked in comms in disasters who had a particularly good point to make about notifying the possibly bereaved by text message (thanks, Sara McBride), and a call to the Consular Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in NZ to get the absolute and up-to-date official line on what assistance was available to the NZ Citizens affected and their families and loved ones (thanks Team MFAT). I’m posting that in case you find yourself in a similar position – the support you get from your team and wider contacts is invaluable.
Here is the result: