Public Relations Tips for Dealing with the Media


It behooves you to know and remember the names of reporters. Reporters know everybody. They talk to and interview people constantly. Because of their job, they usually size people up in a matter of minutes, sometimes without even meeting them face-to-face. If first impressions ever count, this is one first impression you don’t want to mess up. Be sincere, polite and try not to use slang.

A good reporter uses perfect grammatically structured sentences and flawless spelling when writing articles. Usually these skills transfer to many other facets of their persona therefore you should not be intimidated by an articulate and well-spoken reporter. It makes sense that they of all people might possess a perfect command of the English language. It goes with the territory. They are used to the fact that most people cannot keep up with their vocabulary. So don’t try to impress them with your speech. Any attempt to fake them out with words is sure to fail. Be yourself. It doesn’t mean they are smarter than you. On the contrary, if they were smarter they would be a freelance writer instead of a periodic journalist or perhaps own their own business like you. It pays better and you don’t have someone else editing your stories or asking you to rewrite something to change the slant or angle.

Most journalists are like artist. They are creative. Creative people don’t like to be put into structures, systems and absolutes. But periodic newspaper writers are forced into this through deadlines and space requirements. Many reporters like the type of work they do, writing, but they absolutely hate the structure. It’s stressful, hard work and not that much fun. A few reporters love the challenge of deadlines. These are the ones to watch out for. With these reporters, you should have your answers to questions pre-thought out. They will surely take most of what you say out of context. They are in a hurry. They are only concerned with finishing the story on time and then writing another. They will interview a few people instead of many to get to the bottom of the issue. They will use your name and insert a quote from you where it fits and when they need it. And then conveniently change, modify and delete parts of what you said or what they wanted to hear to fit nicely into a complete story. If, for some reason, they disagree with what you said or they just don’t like you, it’s all over. So this brings us back to our original thought. Be friendly to reporters. Be honest, truthful and sincere. Help them keep it short and sweet and help them save their valuable time.

When you see these reporters around town or at community events, be sure to acknowledge their presence. Even if you don’t have time to talk, a simple nod or good evening ‘Joe’ and a firm handshake will do.

"Lance Winslow" - Online Think Tank forum board. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance here. Lance is an online writer in retirement.

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Tags: media relations, public relations tips, dealing with the media and reporters, public relations

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