4 (more) ground rules for working with reporters

A reader’s helpful email to a professional media trainer highlights a few extra guidelines no PR practitioner should ignore.

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The reader saw my article, “8 ground rules for working with reporters,” thought I missed a few important ones, and submitted four additional rules. They’re great.

Given the unique perspective that this reader is able to offer from the other side of the world, I wanted to share the list.

1. Going off the record. Don’t speak off the record unless you not only agree on definitions, but you trust the reporter not to publish it anyway. Some reporters, especially members of the parachute press corps, are willing to burn a source for a story.

Here in Sierra Leone, sources by default are anonymous—even opinion sources. In my case, I don’t express any opinion on any topic that could by the remotest possibility be mistaken for an official position. If I were to say, “I like hip-hop music” (which I don’t), someone might ask, “What is [your organization’s’] interest in hip-hop?” I exaggerate only slightly.

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