Friday, February 12, 2010

10 Mistakes People Make With the News Media

1. Saying “No comment.” This annoys reporters and makes you look guilty.

2. Getting angry at a reporter. The reporter would rather be covering the water-skiing squirrel, believe me. But this was the assignment, and she’s just doing her job.

3. Inserting verbal fillers. Editors cannot take your “uh’s” and “um’s” out in editing.

4. Wearing the wrong colors for TV. Despite HD cameras, black and white and small patterns can still look bad and be distracting. Wear solid colors. Blues are best.

5. Asking to see the story ahead of time. This offends journalists. You are insinuating they will not do a good job of reporting accurately and fairly.

6. Not preparing for a crisis. It’s a matter of when, not if, an act of violence or Mother Nature or an innocent mistake will adversely affect your organization. Media crisis training is an insurance policy. Invest now before it’s too late.

7. Not having a media policy. Make sure your employees know who the company spokesperson is and how to refer calls to him or her.

8. Not calling back immediately. Journalists are on deadlines, and if you don’t call back within a few minutes, they will start looking for another source, and you will have missed the opportunity.

9. Speaking too long. Soundbites are short. Don't blather.

10. Lying. Dishonesty will come back to haunt you. Media organizations keep tapes, digital files and notes for a long, long time. They will resurrect your lie and make a news story out of it.

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