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Should You Really Avoid Repeating Inaccurate Information?

A few years ago, I wrote: “In print journalism, you almost always have forums available to you for a response, such as a letter to the editor or op-ed. If it’s an option, use it. Don’t repeat the original errors in reporting, since it just gives those errors more airtime—just articulate your point of view.”

When I was coming up as a media relations professional, that rule was rarely questioned. Repeating the original error only served to reinforce an inaccurate narrative and, thus, should be avoided at all costs.

I’m no longer sure that’s right. In today’s post, I’m going to question my own advice.

Blured text with focus on WRONG

Reader Question: Correct The Record Or Let It Go?

A PR pro recently wrote in with a challenging situation. A member of her non-profit organization’s board of directors made a mistake during an interview and misstated one of her group’s policy positions, leading to criticism from its supporters. She wondered whether she should release a statement correcting the record.

Making a call in this type of situation can be tricky. Here are the two sides of the debate, along with my recommendation for this reader.


Question: Do You Tape Reporters During Media Interviews?

I recently received the following email from Christopher Holcroft, an Australian public relations pro. He writes:

“I have found these days more and more journalists who conduct phone interviews are recording them on voice recorders. To ensure there is complete transparency and to keep within my country’s federal laws, I ask the journalist if they are


Help A Reader: This Reporter Is Blowing Me Off!

A Florida-based PR pro recently wrote in about a situation almost every media relations professional has faced at some point in their career:

“I was introduced to a journalist of a national magazine. My colleague and I sat down with the media person and pitched him what our organization does. He loved our cause and said


How To Get Reporters To Soften Their Coverage Of You

A reporter’s primary obligation is not to you, the spokesperson, but to the story itself.  Yes, a  journalist owes you an accurate rendering of your quotes and a fair representation of your views, but whether you come out of the story looking good, bad or neutral is not their concern.

That being the case, you might


Reader Email: Is It Ethical To Circumvent A Reporter?

A reader from South Africa recently asked:

“I wish to check with you on the ethics of publishing a media response to more than the persons that enquired. This is in a case of apparent collusion between members of the political opposition and the media.”

My answer is yes, absolutely. Based on your question, I’d say that


The 16 Things Reporters Find Newsworthy

Editor’s note: Three years ago, I published a post containing 11 things that journalists find newsworthy. Since then, many readers have added their thoughts to mine—so today, this list becomes the 16 things reporters consider newsworthy.

If you’ve ever pitched a story idea to a reporter by phone, you know how hard it can be to


Why Cognitive Dissonance Is A Critical Media Strategy

Cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. (source: Wikipedia)

I recently worked with a company that is frequently portrayed by the media as

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