While the Internet and social media have dramatically changed the world of journalism, some of the fundamentals of working with the media haven’t changed at all. Reporters are still looking for story ideas their readers will care about and sources who can provide insight into complex issues. As we tweet, post to LinkedIn and upload to Instagram, here are some back-to-basic tips to keep in mind when communicating with media:

  • Prepare – anticipate questions and develop key messages before the interview.
  • Be ready to educate – don’t hesitate to set the record straight.
  • There is no such thing as “off the record.” Never tell a reporter anything you are not willing to see published.
  • Never talk about clients or client matters without their permission.
  • Don’t lie – if you don’t know the answer to a question, tell the reporter you don’t know.
  • Be concise and speak slowly.
  • Repeat it, repeat it – this will increase the likelihood that your message will be included.  
  • Track it – ask when the story will appear, or, if broadcasted, ask for a clip of the segment.
  • Let reporters know how to reach you – provide contact information for follow up questions and be prepared for follow up calls. Keep their contact information, and don’t hesitate to email them with news to build on your relationship.
  • If you are pleased with a story, tell them – like most of us, reporters usually only hear the complaints.
  • After the interview, ask if the reporter can include the name of your firm.

Feel free to contact me, Lisa Altman, at laltman@jaffepr.com with any questions or to further discuss best practices when working with the media.