The PR world is buzzing about a PR person who crossed the line with a reporter and was publicly outed for her indiscretion.
Seems like a good time to review what we call “The 10 Commandments for the Care & Feeding of Reporters.”
- Be respectful. Reporters are overworked and inundated with information. Respect them by not spamming them with off-target information. Know their beat and read their articles.
- Be timely. Reporters face constant deadlines. If you offer an interview source, make sure they are available quickly.
- Be fair. If a reporter has worked well with you in the past, give him first crack at the next big story you have to offer.
- Be aware of other stories. A reporter often has multiple assignments to complete. While your story is important, an editor may have other priorities.
- Don’t bait and switch. Be upfront about why you are contacting the reporter and what you can offer.
- Don’t bully. Be sensitive to building a relationship with the reporter. Rather than getting ink for one story, think of this as the start of an ongoing association.
- Don’t lie or guess. Integrity is the foundation of any reporter relationship. If asked a question to which you don’t know the answer, find out and get back to the reporter promptly.
- Don’t ask to speak “off the record.” The reporter’s job is to find out information. Decide upfront what details you are willing to share and stick to the plan.
- Don’t ask to see the article before it is published. The reporter is a pro and his editor will handle all necessary reviews.
- Acknowledge the effort. The reporter worked hard to get the story right. Offer a sensitive comment on the work or drop a note to show your appreciation.