Media Training: Exposing Reporter Tricks -- Three Tactics Designed to Get You
A reporter's job is to get the most accurate and interesting story he or she can. Whether journalists make you look good or bad in the process is inconsequential to them - their loyalty is to their story, and their goal is to elicit the most dramatic quotes possible from you.
This is not to suggest that you should view every encounter with reporters as adversarial. In fact, most interviews are quite straightforward. But a good journalist will try to steer you "off message." He or she will use well-established tricks of the trade to get you to say things you didn't intend to say, and some of those things might prove embarrassing when you see them in the newspaper the next day.
By knowing some of the tricks of the reporting trade, you can maintain control of the interview and get the quotes you want. Below are three ways to avoid falling into a reporter's trap:
1) Never Repeat a Bad Question in Your Answer -- It usually starts innocuously enough. A journalist will tell you that because his or her questions will not be included in the story, you should answer the questions in complete sentences.
For example, if a reporter asks, 'Are you pleased with the number of donations your organization received this year?" he or she would ask you to answer by saying, "Our organization is pleased with the number of donations we've received this year." It makes perfect sense, and is a legitimate way of conducting an interview.
But occasionally, a reporter will ask a negative question without warning. You have to break the rules here, and answer the question as a positive.
For example, if a reporter asks you, "Is it true that your organization has committed fraud?" you probably don't want your quote the next day to say, "It isn't true that our organization committed fraud." Such a quote links your organization to the word "fraud," an association you'd probably rather not make.
Assuming, of course, that your business did not commit fraud, you should answer that question in a positive manner, such as, "In our 35 years of business, we have always taken great pains to ensure that our business operates within the word and spirit of the law. We have operated ethically in this case, as we strive to in all of our dealings."
2) Shhhhh! -- During most interviews, reporters will ask a steady stream of questions and you will answer them. No surprises there. But remember the goal of the journalist - he or she wants to steer you off message in order to elicit a more interesting response.
Sometimes, after you finish answering the reporter's question, the reporter will just sit there, as if he or she wants you to continue speaking. The silence usually flusters the interviewee, who tries to please his or her interviewer by speaking again - and usually strays far off message in the process. Don't fall into this trap! If you find yourself in a "reportorial stare down," simply ask whether the reporter has another question and move on.
3) Don't Assume the Reporter Knows What He Says He Knows -- For this one, I'll turn it over to Eric Nalder, an investigative reporter for the respected San Jose Mercury News. In his article, "The Art of the Interview," Nalder writes, "Play like you know. Ask the official why he fired the whistle-blower rather than asking whether he did the deed. The question presumes you already know even if you don't have it confirmed. They'll start explaining rather than denying."
In other words, by falling into this trap, you may be the person who confirms a negative story about your own organization. If the reporter has made a false assumption, speak up. If not, don't help the journalist confirm it unless you've made a conscious choice to do so.
Brad Phillips is the founder and president of Phillips Media Relations (http://www.PhillipsMediaRelations.com). He was formerly a journalist for ABC News and CNN, and also headed the media relations department for the second largest environmental group in the world.
Advertising by textad.biz
Go Ahead, click an ad, you know you want to.
Dont Be Incredible
Public relations is all about credibility and trustworthiness. If you don't practice PR, then you are likely to be incredible.
Marketing-Minded Financial Planners, Join Your Professional Organization to Get Free Publicity
Unlike some professionals like lawyers and doctors, financial planners aren't required to be members of a professional association.However, if you want to take advantage of a great way to get free publicity, you marketing-minding financial professionals will join an association like the Financial Planning Association or the Society of Financial Service Professionals.
What Many PR Users Ignore
Simply that the behaviors of their most important outside audiences rank pretty low on their list of things to worry about. And this despite the reality that, properly cared for, those behaviors can affect whether or not those managers achieve their managerial objectives.
Passing the PR Bar
The public relations bar, should such a proficiency measure ever come about, may well include a test of PR's fundamental premise: people act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is usually accomplished.
Think Like a Reader, Viewer, or Listener to Get Great Publicity
About a year ago I read a feature story in the Wall Street Journal. It was about a new trend -- baby showers that were being thrown for grandmothers.
PR: Whats the Point?
Here's the point: people act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.
How to Get More Mileage Out of Your Media Coverage
Maybe it played for Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams," but that paraphrased line - "Print it and they will come" - doesn't necessarily work in real life.There's a lot to be said for the value of editorial side coverage, but you can't count on people acting on what they read or even remembering it for long.
Is This Any Way to Run Your PR?
You bet!Especially for business, non-profit and association managers who REALLY need to persuade their key outside audiences to their way of thinking. Then move them to behaviors that lead to the success of their department, division or subsidiary.
Whats Your Op-Ed?
Everyone has an opinion on something, and you can leverage the opinion of top executives to heighten the visibility of your organization. How? By getting them to write so-called op/ed pieces for newspapers.
Easy to be Foolish About PR
In fact, here are three really foolish goofs made by too many business, non-profit and association managers.If that's you, you foolishly do nothing positive about the behaviors of those important outside audiences of yours that most affect your operation.
Put Yourself in the Reporters Shoes
Imagine you're the technology reporter at a daily newspaper. You learn that a new computer virus is making the rounds on the Net and you find that it has shut down three local banks within the past few hours.
How To Make Time For Public Relations
"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michalangelo, Mother Theresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
Are You Dissing Public Relations
If you leave a star player sitting on the bench, you could be the loser.Look at it this way.
How About MANAGING Your Own PR?
It's one thing for a senior manager to approve story angles for the publicity folks to use in shopping around for print and broadcast placements. Not an especially large amount of managing needed there.
PR: Room at the Bottom?
When special events and communications tactics rule the PR roost instead of a workable plan designed to manage external audience behaviors that impact your organization the most, that's where public relations results can wind up.You know, bad results like key target audiences showing little confidence in your organization, or seldom taking actions that help you succeed and, in the end, failing to help you achieve your unit objectives.
How To Write More Powerfully For PR, Offline And Online
Years ago when my Dad owned a group of local newspapers I spent my school and college vacations working in the editorial office. We used to amuse ourselves over our sandwiches at lunchtime looking through and trashing the endless press releases that would arrive in the mail each day, all beautifully produced with glossy photographs (this was in pre-internet days).
The Key to Great PR
The Key to Great PR is PerseveranceBy Paula Gardner of Do Your Own PRI regularly seem to come across businesses that have pinned their hopes on one press release. They tell me how they sent it out with excitement in the pits of their stomachs and then felt the hard cold flop of disappointment when they didn't get an army of journalists on the phone the very next day.
Underestimating the Power of In-House PR
Do small-business owners always have to rely on large PR agencies to get attention from the press? An entrepreneur recently asked me this question during a networking event for women business owners. Of course my answer was, "No," but not for the reasons one might expect.
Why You Should Write a Book (Even if You Really Dont Want To)
Recently, I told a friend (who's a business owner) that she needed to write a book. Although she's a good writer with terrific ideas, she said, "Do I really have to do it?"For her -- and for those of you who have a business -- the answer is yes.
Why News Releases Fail
Sorry about my otaku with this issue (otaku = more than a hobby, a little less than an obsession).Many of you may know me, since I run Imediafax, the Internet to Media Fax Service.
|home | site map|