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Donald Trump’s “Off-The-Record” New York Times Interview

On January 5, 2016, Donald Trump visited the editorial board of The New York Times. Some 30 editors were reportedly present for the meeting, portions of which were agreed by both parties to be off the record.

Late last week, a columnist for the Times who attended that meeting wrote a piece suggesting that Trump was more flexible on his immigration views than he was letting on publicly.

This incident offers a cautionary tale about why going off the record is risky — and adds a new rule to my list of things to consider if you’re ever inclined to speak in that manner.

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If I Can’t Veto Your Questions, I’m Canceling This Interview

Lucy Allan, a Member of the British Parliament, has been getting a lot of negative press lately. Among other things, she has been accused of bullying her staff and inventing a death threat.

Last week, she was scheduled to appear on the BBC, but reportedly pulled out because she wasn’t allowed to veto certain questions in advance. That only likely magnified her image as someone who exhibits bullying behavior.

Requesting “pre-conditions” prior to an interview isn’t always a bad decision. Here’s where she went wrong.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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