The 3 most-dangerous types of reporters

Most reporters aren’t out to nail you, but some will try to coax a statement that you’ll admit later. Here’s advice for working with these risky journalists.

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But because there are always a few who try to get you to say something you’ll later regret, this lesson will help you survive your interactions with three of the most dangerous types of reporters.

1. The Quiet Type

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who just keeps looking at you when you’ve finished talking? If you’re like most people, you feel awkward and quickly start talking again to fill the uncomfortable silence.

Reporters bank on that awkward dynamic and know you’ll say the most damaging things after you’ve finished your “official” answer. Instead of falling into this trap, just remain quiet after your official answer, or say something like: “That’s the main point. What other questions can I answer for you?”

2. The Jerk

I regularly had to deal with one very nasty reporter from a major wire service on behalf of one of my clients. He relished asking aggressive questions in the most hostile way possible, and I found it tough not to react defensively.

I learned to ignore his tone and rewrite his question in my mind, a good technique if you find yourself in a similar situation.

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