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Thread: Contact with the news media

  1. #1
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Contact with the news media

    Up until early this week, it was my jurisdiction’s policy that all contact with the media was to flow through our public information officer. Two stories appeared in the newspaper the past ten days involving our division. We had funneled our responses to media inquiries through the PIO in accordance with policy. Unfortunately, the PIO incorrectly relayed the message to the paper making us look like a bunch of Bubbas (sorry, Bubbas). Therefore, as of yesterday, our division no longer reports our media contact to the PIO.

    What is your employer’s policy regarding media contact?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    We do not talk to the press unless implicitly told to by the powers that be. Responses like, "Why yes Mrs. Reporter, that lot is zoned single-unit residential," are fine, but anything beyond that requires clearance from the boss, and possibly his bosses. Believe me when I say that it's a good policy.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    In my office it is the Executive Director.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    When I worked for the city, I rarely spoke to anyone from the press. However, there was a reporter from one of the independent business weekly papers that would call me to talk about planning-related things. I always spoke on the condition of anomynity and he kept his word.

    Now, in the private sector, I still rarely speak to the press. If presented with the occasion, I can either refer them to the project manager (if it's not me), or speak to them freely, but only if it's specific to my projects. Anything else, I'd refer them to my boss. We don't have an official office policy, but I would use my best judgement.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    Unfortunately, the PIO incorrectly relayed the message to the paper making us look like a bunch of Bubbas (sorry, Bubbas).
    Off-topic:
    Apology accepted


    I'm in the private sector, so I have to luxury of referring project-related press inquires to whichever agency is my client - anything else I just pass along to the boss and let him deal with it.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by biscuit
    We do not talk to the press unless implicitly told to by the powers that be. Responses like, "Why yes Mrs. Reporter, that lot is zoned single-unit residential," are fine, but anything beyond that requires clearance from the boss, and possibly his bosses. Believe me when I say that it's a good policy.
    Same here. Anything requiring an opinion or interpretation has to go thru a designated person in the department.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I tell my secretaries to only give out information repeated from what's in writing - like agendas or minutes and to send all calls or make appointments to/with me - it's my job - I've been pretty lucky in my career with the press - so far, anyway, right?

    anything to do with Council or other things not in Planning, I send to that respective Department Head

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Since I work in Mayberry we have pretty much open access to the media.

    Right now I have a really good relationship with the reporter. She even leaves stuff off the record. So for now I will talk with her. If I get burned it is all over.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    Our policy is that reporters have to work through the proper chain of command. It starts with the Director of Communication. He will wither abtain the necessary information from the respective Department or have the person contact the Agency Director. It can then flow down hill until it hits the necessary person.
    Satellite City Enabler

  10. #10
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    We have no set policy. When they call, we talk to them.

    As a former member of the press, I am probably the best person in the department for talking to the press. I know to keep it simple, stick to the facts, don't give anything that thye haven't asked for and keep your personal opinions to yourself.

    One big thing to keep in mind is the reporter doesn't know as much as you about what is going on. He or she is relying on you to provide them with the information they need. You have to be careful what you say because they can knowingly or unknowingly misinterpret the information.

    You may know what you meant to say, they only know what you said.

    So, be careful out there.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  11. #11
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    I've had a reporter walk directly into my office and ask to look at a file. This type of behavior occurs because the admin. staff let the reporters have free run of our office since they're real chummy with each other. I really need to clue my boss in that this is a bad idea and eventually will get us in trouble...

  12. #12
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    We refer all calls to our General Manager, who then decides who will answer it. Usually it ends up being me (Branch Manager) or my direct supervisor (Department Director) if it's a planning issue. We have to notify our Communiciations Specialist about what the topic was, and the bent of the article, once the interview is done... just in case. We have two newspapers here in town, and they often have interesting slants on our news to try to sell papers. This is the first time I've seen two newspapers for a city of about 60k.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nerudite
    We have two newspapers here in town, and they often have interesting slants on our news to try to sell papers. This is the first time I've seen two newspapers for a city of about 60k.
    Hey, got you beat - 2 weekly papers in a town of 5k year-round (18k in summer, 2-3 million tourists [who I think are all here today, yipes!])

  14. #14
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well....

    I can deal with the basic media stuff, but questions about lawsuits and political stuff go straight to the managers office. I was on the radio for the first time a while back and that was fun, mainly because DJ's don't normally have an agenda, other than sounding good.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  15. #15
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    .... I was on the radio for the first time a while back and that was fun.....
    Off-topic:
    You have a face ideally suited for radio.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    It seems as if I am bathed in media coverage. Sometimes I go looking for it, but not often. It's gotten to where my neighbors joke about reading the paper just to see what I had for lunch.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  17. #17
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Snicker.....

    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    Off-topic:
    You have a face ideally suited for radio.
    Very Funny smart guy

    Speaking of that, where did you get your plastic surgery? Obviously I DON'T want to go there.......har har har.....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  18. #18
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Our local paper is very small, and they have pretty much free access to anyone, and do a good job with us... they even support projects with free advertising and such.

    If the flatlanders come up... (No offense, flatlanders.) Then we all try and pawn it off on someone else. Usually we end up drawing straws to see who gets thrown to the wolves, and we've found a way to short straw the City Administrator most times. They generally... but not always... are up here for something negative.

    Personally, the more people who don't know my face, the better. (Forget the jokes, you bums...) It's easier to do my job if people don't know who I am. As such, the local paper has never run my picture!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
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    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  19. #19
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I'm sure we have a policy here but I don't know what it is. Sometimes reporters call and I talk to them. Usually they end up making me look like a dummy. But then maybe that's party my fault for being a dummy.

  20. #20
    We don't have a policy other than common sense. Personally, the less my name is in the paper the happier I am. What irks me is the reporters will just start asking questions and when they wait for my response, I always ask "Is this for attribution?" This seems to annoy them (something I enjoy, frankly), but how am I to know if they intend to quote me or if they are just looking for background info without asking?

    (I was in the paper this Monday. The local reporter asked me about downtown revitalization and he set my quote up with something like "Gedunker was more measured in his response about the downtown's prospects.")

  21. #21
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I actually had one instance where when I was to the reporter I must have said the word "um" a couple of times and the stupid reporter put that into my quote. Arrrghhhhh.

  22. #22
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner
    I actually had one instance where when I was to the reporter I must have said the word "um" a couple of times and the stupid reporter put that into my quote. Arrrghhhhh.
    how mean of that reporter!

  23. #23
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner
    I actually had one instance where when I was to the reporter I must have said the word "um" a couple of times and the stupid reporter put that into my quote. Arrrghhhhh.
    That's a court reporter, not a newspaper reporter.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    Generally, only our director talks to the media.

    I will admit, though- i've got a decent relationship with the guy that covers county stuff, and I definitely have off-the-record conversations with him. And I think it has a good result.

  25. #25
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I just wanted to share that I recently talked to a reporter who asked me a question and said my candid response would be "off the record, just so (he) can understand the scenario''. While my response was not entirely candid (what, did he honestly think I was going to volunteer info that could potentially be used against my employer?), he did in fact live up to his word in this instance and did not publish my remarks, nor even do an 'informed sources' quote.

    Our policy is typically that only department heads talk to the media.

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