When you work with reporters almost daily, you learn a lot of about the
You pick up nuances about publications and outlets and the working styles
of particular reporters. You also get asked a lot of questions, and that’s
OK, because we ask a ton right back. Many are unsurprising; some should be
asked more often, as they deliver vital information.
Here are seven key questions that journalists in every medium should ask PR
“Can you send this to me by X time on Y date?”
Broadly speaking in the business world, it’s helpful to state when you’ll
need something. It’s particularly helpful in media relations for reporters
to set deadlines from the get-go. We’re going to ask anyway, so including
it in an original request saves a few emails and a bunch of time.
“Which other clients do you work with?”
If you’re working with PR pros at agencies, it’s wise to ask which other
clients or projects they’re working with. Often, they represent similar
clients to those you already know about. The PR pro may have a line into
another executive or spokesperson you’ll want to interview later (or pass
along to a colleague).
“Can I meet with him/her?”
The preferred follow-up question to the previous one, though it can also
apply in other situations.
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“What should I be on the lookout for?”
Only a few reporters I’ve worked with have asked a spokesperson about
upcoming milestones for his or her firm or macroeconomic/industry events to
keep on the radar. If a top executive working in a firm or industry you
cover is anticipating something, maybe you should, too.
“What else should I know about?” Asking this question leaves it open-ended for interview subjects to talk
about what’s on their minds—and sometimes that’s more interesting than the
"Can you confirm this?”
Most reporters are meticulous about fact-checking, but sometimes inaccurate
information has to be corrected. Rarely do speedy and detail-oriented come
together successfully, but both are crucial to our industries. PR pros
should take extra time to review, and reporters should feel free to fact
This helps put the “relations” back into “media relations.” You tend to
work better with people you know better, so cultivating relationships (on
both sides) is helpful in understanding each other’s working styles and
What other questions should journalists ask PR pros?
works in financial communications at one of the largest PR firms in New
York and is a monthly contributor to Muck Rack. Connect with her on
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