If you don’t like the game, get someone else to play it Quick quiz.
News reporters generally are: 1. Lazy, duplicitous hacks trying to make you look bad. 2. Working stiffs trying to get today’s story right.
As they say in the focus groups, there’s no wrong answer to this question. As a recovering journalist, I can’t deny lazy days and gratuitous shots taken at subjects on my “presumably sleazy” list. At the same time, every newsroom where I left coffee stains was filled with men and women who believed they were doing their best to get at the truth.
Your answer says more about you. If you see reporters as lowlifes hardly worth your attention, your attitude will show in your contact with them. If you see reporters as regular people who need your cooperation to get their day’s work done, you may find them to be reasonable and even interesting.
The best interviews are those in which a reporter runs out of questions. If a reporter believes time spent with you is worthwhile, then honoring that view could be worthwhile for you. The worst interviews are those that end with one party or the other angry or dissatisfied.
If you’re the kind of source that has unpleasant contact with reporters, you’re doing harm to yourself and your organization. This gets more important as the number of reporters declines. We at Executive Media suggest you either hand the media-contact role off to someone who would enjoy it or learn enough about the media business to become tolerant of – maybe even entertained by – these folks.
We can help. Our spokesperson training focuses in part on the characteristics and motivations of reporters. Our media audits and monitoring can help determine whether your media practices are helping your reputation or hurting it.