People want the benefit of media exposure but want to control the way the message gets out via the blogger or writer. It doesn’t work that way and it’s better to go into an interview or a situation where you’ll have cameras, reporters, bloggers or writers at your event knowing the A,B,Cs of what to expect.
In the past, I have gotten my journalistic and blogger integrity questioned. It all compelled me to jot down some basic tenets on what people who talk to journalists and bloggers should expect.
Although I just recently returned to the world of writing and reporting, I’ve been writing for publications for 24 years, starting with articles in High School publications to writing for one of the college newspapers all four years including serving as managing editor at one point. During summers, I interned at US News & World Report, for the National Association of Black Journalists and a weekly local paper, the Laurel Leader before calling it quits and heading to law school. Even there, I continued to write and published pieces in our communications journal and served as the note and comment editor for it by my final year. For four years, managing my public relations firm, representing various entities including serving as a publicist for a Grammy-nominated artist, I reversed course and spent time pitching stories to publications.
- Your boy may have grown up with you around the way, but don’t think he’s going to put less effort in writing about your event, IPO, or new venture differently than if he didn’t know you. But while a friend may be more likely to apply a gentler and favorable approach to a piece or post on you, don’t expect it. It’s a courtesy, not a right.
- Assume everything you tell a blogger or journalist will be published. A writer may have a recording device with her documenting what you say so she can accurately report it. Usually, a blogger tells you that she is recording or gives you indication. Once you notice them with a recording device – even if it’s the voice notes in their iPhone or blackberry – or you see them writing down your statements in a reporters’ notebook, expect that it will be published or broadcast.
- If you are saying something you are unsure you don’t want to end up in the paper, online, or broadcast on the radio or television, don’t say it. In the alternative, offer it up as a courtesy and indicate that the information is either off-the-record or on background. Off the record –means as far as the person speaking and the journalist is concerned the information should not be used or factored in the story at all. You are getting information for your edification to help frame the story for you, but should not use it in the ultimate published or broadcast piece
- You cannot control how what you say will be interpreted and regurgitated in the media. You cannot always take back statements you say or said about you. You can post your own reply or ask for a retraction of incorrect facts, but if something is simply written in a way you disagree with, do not expect it to be edited out to suit your taste. It doesn’t’ work that way.
- If you are going to be in a situation where you’ll have to talk to the media or be on camera and recorded by various outlets, determine in advance the 4 to 5 talking points that you want to relay and try to stay on message.
- Be aware of making off the cuff messages and statements you may feel comfortable making within the confines of your basement hanging with your boys or girl. Such remarks, as we’ve seen in many instances in the past, will be picked apart and ripped to pieces when consumed by the public. The audience will interpret messages in various ways that you cannot control or may not even imagine. People have their own preconceived ideas and notions and usually will place you on their spectrum of where they think you fit. All they say to you and you say to the public will be dissected from that skewed prism. It is reality though it may not be yours and may stray from your intent.
- Off the record differs from “on background” which means the information being supplied can be considered for purposes of the writer framing the story or as a launch pad for deciding where to get supporting data or quotes. The information cannot be attributed to the source, however. The person giving the information expect the journalist to come up with some independent sourcing of the data, if they include it.
Respect bloggers and don’t look down on them or put them on a standard lower than professional journalists. In many instances, they have more klout, following, and are regarded higher than some journalist that work for major media conglomerate who have been accused in the past of manipulating the news and what gets reported or not.
Politicians, celebrities and CEOs of major corporations get media training to teach them how to deal with the press, appear on camera and respond to questions because their words are held to a higher standard.
Regular folks usually don’t realize what they’re getting into until it’s too late because they don’t know the rules…So there you go:7ips to keep you out of trouble.
Like G.I. Joe said knowing is half the battle.
photo: American Perspective
Jay Jay Ghatt is also editor at Techyaya.com, founder of the JayJayGhatt.com and JayJayGhatt.com where she teaches online creators how to navigate digital entrepreneurship and offers Do-It-For-You Blogging Service. She manages her lifestyle sites BellyitchBlog, Jenebaspeaks and JJBraids.com and is the founder of BlackWomenTech.com 200 Black Women in Tech On Twitter. Her biz podcast 10 Minute Podcast is available on iTunes and Player.fm. Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks. Buy her templates over at her legal and business templates on Etsy shop!