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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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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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Answers: Should PR Pros Participate During Interviews?

Earlier this week, I asked readers whether it was appropriate for PR pros to participate during media interviews when someone else—an executive, subject matter expert, or client—is the person being interviewed.

Many of you responded (thank you!). We heard from people via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and in the blog’s comment section, so in this post, we’ve

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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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Help A Reader: Should I Use One Spokesperson Or Many?

A reader dealing with some changes within her organization recently wrote in with the following concern:

“Up until now, when we received a media inquiry, designated staff members would decide who would be the ‘spokesperson’ based on the type of inquiry and availability of spokespersons. If it was a general or simple inquiry, we might be

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