Working with Reporters

1. Reporters are not in business to sell your opinions or to get only your point of view, but rather to make their deadlines and please their editors.

2. Access to information may be the reporter’s most useful tool. So be accessible and approachable. If you can’t be reached, you can be sure someone on the other side will be available—and quoted.

3. Ready-made stories make reporters happy because they can save “digging” time.

4. Take calls from reporters. Return messages as quickly as possible. If you don’t know the answers to their questions right then, try to get them and call back. If you can’t find the answer or determine you do not want to answer, call them back anyway so they can move on. Deadlines are a way of life with reporters, so respect them. You do not want to be the reason reporter didn’t get his or her story.

5. Speak plain English.

6. Don’t argue with a reporter. You can’t win, because the reporter always has the last word either in their publication or on the air.

7. Reporters like to find controversy on an issue. Be prepared. All questions will not be easy to answer and those you would like to hear.

8. A sense of humor will get you through many a session with a reporter.

9. Remember, reporters have the power to edit what you say/write. So decide what your best point is or what you want to get across and keep making it.

10. Stay in touch with local reporters.