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5 Things you should never say to a Journalist


Ah, the relationship between a PR and a journalist is a special one. Whilst both would tell you how frustrating they find it at times, like true family relationships, neither can manage without the help of the other!

That said, whilst the goal at TishTash Marketing & PR is to ensure positive, thoughtful, and engaging media coverage for our clients and brands, we know there is most definitely a way to manage an editor, writer, broadcaster, or any journalistic outlet we want to keep on side.

Solid media training will absolutely teach you what to say to the press, but to ensure our positive and special relationships with the media continues, and to help you if you are considering doing your own PR without the help of an agency like ours, we wanted to share the 5 things you should never say to a journalist…

Can I check what you’ve written/approve this interview before it goes out?

VERY few people or entities are entitled to a copy check/approval before things go to press. Remember, it’s a journalist’s job to report a story, and not repeat your marketing messages or promotional snippets verbatim. Even if you think they are cleverly disguised, they usually are not, and this request is the number one complaint from journalists. Trust the media! Have faith, that when well prepared, everyone is working together for the greater good. They are not out to ‘get you in most instances – let them do their job

Off the record…

Again, if you are well prepared, you would know that saying anything ‘off the record’ is no cast-iron guarantee that your comments will not be printed or broadcast. If your messaging is well-rehearsed and authentic, there will be absolutely no need to go ‘off the record’, especially if what you are about to say is something important or interesting and you are telling the journalist NOT to use it!

When will it be printed/broadcast/on the website?

Journalists and media outlets are super time-poor, and usually understaffed and one way to guarantee you don’t get asked back for further features or comments is to badger an editor or journalist as to when your piece will be appearing. They will feel harassed and often won’t be able to give you a direct answer. Their time is precious, and their nerves are often frayed by pressure and deadlines – again – have faith!

What magazine/newspaper/site is this for again?

Way to make a journalist feel special! You may be lucky enough to be so busy with media requests that you lose track, but it really is your job to remember who it is you are speaking to and have an understanding of their outlet and output. You should even go as far as to research the individual and can chat with them about other work of theirs you have seen or enjoyed. PR is all about relationship building and a lack of interest or ignorance is a surefire way to get off on the wrong foot.

Can we arrange another time/can you call back?

Not just a journalist pet hate, but ours at TishTash too – again relationships with media are our bread and butter and it’s our job to work with outlets and clients to secure coverage and deliver positive communications for your company. If you engage an agency in Dubai or anywhere to do this for you, you are committing to being on time and punctual with your media opportunities and commitments. Believe us, there is always another business or brand the journalist can feature instead of you, and if you gain a reputation for being punctual and helpful, the outlet will remember and be keen to use you in future stories. Wasting people’s time is one way to guarantee a distinct lack of future coverage or collaboration and you never know when you will need it next.

Stay tuned for more content on TishTash.

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