Beyond The Interview: How To Influence a News Story

In this guest post, a fellow media trainer writes that “One of the key success strategies we’re seeing from our media training sessions is a shift in focus from interview practice to non-interview practice.”

He writes, “That’s not to say that practicing interviews isn’t the most important aspect of media training—it is. But there are some sophisticated non-interview techniques that can influence the story perspective.”

In this post, he will offer you several ideas to help influence the final story—before the interview ever takes place.

Close up of name tag on shirt with name torn out

How Should Reporters Refer To You In News Stories?

A reader recently wrote it with an interesting question: Does it matter how PR professionals are identified in news stories?

For example, is the title “media relations manager” better than “spokesperson?” Does “corporate communications manager” signify something different to the public than “spokeswoman?” Is a “public relations director” more credible than a “spokesman?”

I’ll offer my opinion in this post — but I’d also love to hear yours.

Mistake iStockPhoto PPT

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

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