Whether a reporter is working for radio, television or print (yes, print still exists), remember these three things and your relationship will go much better.
One — A good reporter is friendly, but the reporter is not your friend.
A good reporter will be friendly and do all they can so you are relaxed and forthright. This isn’t diabolical — a relaxed, authentic spokesperson will be more quotable. You can be relaxed, but you still need to stay on your message. Don’t get too loose with a reporter while you are chatting.
Two — Everything you do and say is “on the record.”
Don’t say anything to a reporter that you are not willing to see in print. No jokes, no small talk about your issue. Once you are mic’d (have a microphone attached to you or anywhere near you), assume that it is on at all times. There is no “off the record.”
Three — A good reporter’s job is to get a good story.
And how do they know what a good story is? (Besides “a story that satisfies their editor.”) A story that people other than you want to read. Their job is not to present you in the best possible light.
So, give them a good story. Think about audiences for your story and what their readers/viewers will find compelling. Think about what sorts of questions their readers/viewers will have and come up with interesting answers. Think about the headline that will make readers want to read their story.
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