Tips when handling any news release, good or bad:

  • Coordinate Press Coverage.
  • Make internal staff aware.
  • Shoot Straight. Good news or bad…
  • Never Speculate.
  • Release only the information you know is accurate.
  • Stay Calm – The more calm you appear, the quicker people will realize that everything is under control.

Related episode: What to Do When You Screw Up

Understand the Differences Between Television, Radio, and Newspaper. Television, radio, and newspaper reporters are not looking for the same thing when they are covering a story.

TELEVISION: Television reporters are always looking for good visuals. Television reporters are also looking for short, to-the-point sound bites. 9 to 10 seconds.

RADIO: Radio reporters are looking for good sound. If you really want to get a good story placement on radio, be prepared to suggest good ideas for natural sound.

NEWSPAPERS: Here’s the spot for detail. They want it all, and the history. Most newspaper reporters want details. Be prepared to give them details. Here’s your chance to get the whole story out. Have all documents you need on hand—statistics, memos, and timelines.

Rules to Live By When Dealing With Handling Reporters:

  • Think before you speak.
  • Never LIE to a reporter.
  • Don’t speculate.
  • Don’t say, “No comment.”
  • Don’t be offended by a reporter’s ignorance. They aren’t experts on every story they cover.
  • Don’t be impatient with a reporter.
  • Never be argumentative, nasty or yell at a reporter.
  • Always prepare for an interview.
  • Know what you are getting into.
  • Always have an agenda. Know what you want to achieve through this interview.
  • Answer reporter’s calls, or refer them to someone who will return their calls.
  • Announce your own news first… even if it’s bad news.
  • If you have a statement or idea that must be understood, repeat it again, and again, and again.

I hope this helps you the next time you’re in the news.

Be great,

GC