When reporters contact you for comments, what should you do?
- Don’t be afraid to not comment immediately. You can ask reporters if they can provide you with a list of questions that they want answered. You can explain that you’d like to be able to answer the questions as completely and thoughtfully as possible, so you’d like to think about the questions ahead of an interview.
- Be as transparent as possible, but if you can’t answer questions, say so. There could be a number of reasons why you can’t discuss something and telling the reporters that you can’t answer a question is answering the question. You can follow up by letting the reporters know that when it’s possible to provide more information to them, you’ll do so. This can build trust with the media, as long as you follow through with that promise.
- Respect media deadlines. Ask the reporters by when they need information or an interview from you so they have time to put together their stories. If you get reporters what they need when they need it, you again build trust with them.
- If you can’t answer questions or don’t feel comfortable doing so, make sure you find someone within your organization who can and put the reporters in contact with that person.
- And finally, if you need help with media relations at all, contact Jen Cronin. IAMU has contracted with her to provide free media relations support to members. You can reach Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-610-2546.