One of the best things any organization can do is create a file of organizational facts that can be accessed any time a journalist calls. This might include things like the year the organization was founded, the mission statement, leaders and their bios, annual reports, product brochures, key customer contacts, etc.
Remember, a journalist can still report the story without your involvement, especially on crisis situations. Every organization should have a crisis communications plan in place and know who will be the spokesperson when this situation arises. Crisis media management is quite different than general media contacts; therefore, the following print media primer will not address crisis situations.
12 Tips for Effectively Dealing with Print Media
1. Decide whether you will grant the interview by understanding the subject, determining if you are the best person to answer the questions and researching the media outlet and journalist.
2. Ask about the interview format. Will someone interview you in person or over the phone? How long will it last? Will questions be emailed to you for response? Is this going to appear in print or also on the Internet?
3. What is the reporter’s deadline?
4. What else does the reporter need to complete the story? Are photos needed? Does the journalist wish to speak to others in your organization or customer group? Provide third party source contact information in a timely manner when requested.
5. Ask who else will be interviewed for the story.
6. Respond quickly. Reporters are typically under tight deadlines. Do not miss the opportunity to be included in the story because you were tardy.
7. Meet the journalist’s needs and get your point across.
8. Never exaggerate or misrepresent your credentials or your responses.
9. Remember that not all readers have your industry knowledge and background. If you use acronyms, spell them out and avoid industry buzz words.
10. Provide clear, simple quotes that are understood by a wide audience. Use specific examples.
11. Write down your key points for in-person interviews and stick to them.
12. Do not ask to review an article before it goes to press. Journalists are professionals with deadlines. Their job is to report fairly and accurately.
Ever been interviewed by a journalist? What tips can you add here? Ever had it go horribly wrong? Share how others can avoid that happening - Editor@MidwestMeetings.com