I stumbled upon this news story over the weekend about a director for a chamber of commerce in the St. Louis area. In full disclosure, I don’t know anything else other than what was reported in the story:
As a PR specialist, there are so many things I noticed the subject of the story could have done differently! I’m sure you were cringing with me as the story progresses. Even the reporter points out what the subject could have said instead of dodging legitimate questions.
Here are some basic pointers when dealing with the media:
- If you refuse to do an interview, it looks like you have something to hide
- If you personally attack the reporter instead of answering questions, it looks like you have something to hide
- If you can’t talk to them when they approach you, make sure to schedule a time where they can interview you. This is probably the preferred route anyway, so you have time to prepare
- Even if the questions are difficult, there is always a way to frame in a positive context for your organization
Hindsight is always 20/20, and it’s difficult in the moment, but keeping calm and sticking to your core message will always be better. The news media can be a very powerful tool to communicate your message-use it to your advantage!