Working with the Media

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Working with the media is a process that requires poise, professionalism, and thoughtfulness. If you are called upon for an interview, keep these suggestions in mind: 

Follow Your Organization’s Policy 
Many organizations have specific policies related to the release of official information to the media. The policy may have guidelines for you to follow regarding the release of official information, or the policy may identify a specific individual who has been authorized to release information for the organization. In those circumstances, follow the policy guidelines to the letter, or refer the reporter to the designated individual. 

Credibility Is Crucial 
If you are authorized to release official information, be sure you have the facts right and remember to be brief. Get to the point promptly and do not guess, or tell a reporter something that is not accurate. Do not say anything that cannot be confirmed. If you don't know the answer, agree to find out or refer the reporter to an appropriate source. 

Keep Your Word 
Be prompt about getting back to reporters who are on deadline. If timing is a problem and the information is something you can release later, say: "I don't have that information right now. But, what I can tell you is . . ." Then restate the key points that you want to make. If you can make the information available later, tell the reporter when the material will be ready for release. 

Appearance Counts 
A sharp-looking news release or interview wins points from everyone. Most important, never look angry or out of control no matter how much pressure you feel. Do your best to present yourself in a calm, professional and self-assured manner. 

Say What You Can 
Avoid the phrase, “No Comment.” The posture conveys a negative impression by sounding arrogant and evasive. Instead, give a reason if you can. For example, say something like, "I understand your interest but it wouldn't be fair to our employees to discuss this right now" or "It wouldn't be in the best interest of our customers to discuss this at this time." 

Do Not Discuss Issues Under Litigation 
Instead, say something like, “Please understand, I can't discuss this because it's under litigation.” Then instead of rushing off, remain on the scene and do the best you can to appear approachable, knowledgeable and credible in response to other questions that may be presented.