Donovan Group Resources

Five Rules for Working with the Media

Responding to media calls or pitching reporters on news stories can be stressful. So here are five tips for working with the media.

Most often, reporters are working with a same-day deadline of 5 p.m. Be a professional and get back to reporters as soon as you can, even if this means asking your assistant to follow up to acknowledge the media call or message.

Number 2: Never lie or exaggerate

Nothing kills trust more than lying to a reporter. Never, ever lie. Not even a little.

Number 3: More information is usually better than less information

Providing more information to reporters–as long as it is appropriate to do so–is almost always better than not providing enough. Reporters often don’t know what they need and ask for the wrong information. In addition to providing the right information, add whatever you feel is important.

Remember, however, that you have a responsibility for ensuring student confidentiality.

Number 4: When providing information, always provide context

Leave nothing to chance when you are working with a reporter. If a reporter wants specific information, provide it, but include a cover letter to explain what the information is and what can be discerned from it. Sending information blind often leads to it being used out of context.

Number 5: There is no “off the record”

Sometimes  you will want to provide information to a reporter, but want it to be “off the record.” Hollywood makes speaking “off the record” glamorous, but in reality, you should consider everything you say to a reporter fair game”.

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