The Best Handful of Tips 21 – Avoiding Media Speculation
I once asked an editor of a newspaper in the USA what makes a good story and he replied “A disaster“. Take care with your comments when you are being interviewed or you will find you may have a misunderstanding and a disaster on your hands.
Journalists are in the business of making money for themselves or their shareholders. Very often they don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story so take care when being interviewed.
You can alienate journalists or influence them in your favour so always handle a crisis promptly. It’s like a leak in a boat – the sooner the hole can be patched the better.
Never forget you can’t win an argument with the media. They will always have the last say.
The five best tips when dealing with the media when things go wrong
Develop a good relationship with reporters and journalists
Be honest and cooperative and aim to establish a sound working relationship with journalists. Make an effort to earn their respect.
From time to time give them useful story leads.
Do not deny an event unless you are absolutely sure of your facts. If you don’t know the answer to a question say you don’t know but you will find out. Call them as soon as you have the information before they make up their own story.
Say what went wrong and what actions you will take to remedy it. Your honesty will disarm angry critics.
Be prepared for adverse publicity
Most journalists will ask some questions you would rather avoid. Prepare for these questions in case they are asked.
If you are prepared for the worst case scenario you will be able to handle the situation more efficiently.
Listen carefully to questions
Answer all questions briefly and accurately.
Don’t make statements you cannot substantiate.
Take care not to make any hasty or ill considered comments or any off-the-record remarks. Be wary!
“Hard facts will kill media speculation.”
SOURCE: “Secrets for New Managers” published by Moss Associates Ltd and Cengage Learning Asia. Also published as an e-book available from Amazon.com and VitalSource.