6 things the media want from PR people

News organizations vary in their missions and audiences, but all of them want spokespersons to provide the same half-dozen things.

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But grammatically speaking, they’re wrong. “Media” is a plural term, not a singular one (medium is the singular term).

That may seem like grammatical nitpicking, but it’s an important point that you should carry during your time as a media spokesperson. You shouldn’t think of “the media” as an “it,” a single entity that acts in a specific and predictable manner.

Instead, you should think of “the media” as a collection of markedly different news organizations approaching newsgathering in vastly different ways.

For example, The Wall Street Journal doesn’t want the same thing from you as People magazine. The Journal might need a quick quote from a financial analyst to plug into a short article, while People want to write a three-page profile of an ordinary person who overcame tremendous obstacles.

So what do the media want from you? It depends on the news organization, the reporter, the story, and the format. But as different as news organizations and reporters are from one another, almost all of them want the same six things from the media spokespersons they interview:

1. Honesty. Reporters expect honesty from spokespersons and will punish people who lie. This is non-negotiable.

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