12 most damaging things to say to a journalist

Don’t tell a reporter you want to approve what he writes, or that you have an exclusive when you plan to give the story to other reporters. You’ll only hurt your credibility.

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Press and media coverage can greatly boost your profile and help build your reputation, credibility and trust.

Getting the attention of journalists is one thing, but speaking to them is another. Get it wrong and you could put your reputation and that of your business at risk.

Here are 12 things you shouldn’t say to a journalist:

1. “I want to approve what you write.”

Of course you want a favorable write up from a journalist. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately the journalist’s loyalty isn’t to you, but to her editor, readers, viewers and listeners. The third party endorsement of the press is incredibly powerful, but remember that while you control the information you give to a journalist, you cannot control what she does with it. You should never demand to see copy or feel like it is your right to see and approve it.

2. “Off the record.”

People often misunderstand the phrase “off the record.” Many people assume it means the journalist can’t identify you as a source. While the journalist may not name you, he can still make reference to your gender, job role and who you work for. A combination of those things could make you recognizable.

3. “No comment.”

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