Meeting the Media: Things to Do (part 2)
This is the fourth column in the series on Meeting the Media and the
second one on specific things you can do to increase the chance of a
Avoid saying “no comment.” Utter these two words and both the reporter
and the audience will likely think you have something to hide. “No comment”
takes away your power to tell the story and invites the reporter to ask someone
else—someone who may put his or her own spin on the story. A later column will
tell how to bridge from the reporter’s question to an answer you want to give.
If you can’t answer the question, give a reason why.
Answers might include: I don’t have enough knowledge to give a complete
answer,” or, “I am sorry, but the case is still under investigation so it would
be inappropriate for me to answer,” or, “I’m sorry but that information is
classified and I am unable to answer your question.”
Talk from the perspective of the audience’s interest.
The audience will only watch, listen or read as long as you hold its interest.
Personal examples and human interest material keeps the audience’s attention.
The first point in last month’s column was to know the audience; this point is
basic to all effective communication.
With a multiple-part question, choose the part you want to answer.
Consider a multiple-part question as a gift; it lets you focus on the part that
allows you to make a positive point. Choose wisely!
Follow the Golden Rule. Treat the media as you want others to treat you.
If you are distant and hostile with them, you’ll get what you give. Media
persons need and want information. Spokespeople who are accessible and sensitive
to a reporter’s need for information will generate credibility and create a good
working relationship. The same is true for radio or television interview
programs; your interview will be more successful if you follow the Golden Rule.Next month we’ll focus on things to avoid when meeting the media.