Don't pick fights with journalists

In response to a comment on LinkedIn by Mickie Kennedy, “Don’t tell reporters how to do their job,” I thought I’d add my two cents —

After ten years as a journalist, I’m rejoining the general public.

What I’ve learned:

During the years, I’ve been flattered, begged, offered a bribe (and turned it down) and generally had to get past the surface to get the story. And, even if I had great info that would provide positive and helpful PR to a company or other entity, my story still had to get through the editor, who often said, “Go out and get another viewpoint.” Which, obviously, I was required to do.

To make a reporter happy:

1) Be available to answer questions.

2) Tell the truth, the whole truth, to the extent you are able. (Reporters understand corporate privacy, but they’ll ask for as much as you’ll provide.)

3) Have several people available for comment – more than one person is good.

4) Don’t ask to see the story before it is printed. Editors and publishers don’t appreciate that. The reporter will contact you if she/he has a question.

5) Editors like controversy. If the story winds up being contentious, that’s considered “news.”

6) Understand that deadlines can be tight, so contact the reporter as soon as possible with your information.

If you’re promoting an event or other corporate announcement, include quotes from two different entities. One source is interesting; two is convincing.

Now, I’m writing from the other side of the desk and love knowing what makes the reporter/editor happy!

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