Posted by: beccathomas | April 28, 2010

Journalists Gone Mad (Topic of the Week 13)

As I was reading through my Public Relations textbook, I found many things that could lead to driving a journalist crazy.  In chapter 11, it talks all about what you can do to ensure you get along with journalists.  This is a chapter that you do not want to skip over, because it contains very valuable information.  When working in the communications field, it is crucial that you maintain a good relationship with journalists and editors.  You have to maintain a good relationship with them, because you have to depend on them to publish your publications.  It is a dependent relationship, so you want to do whatever you can to keep the relationship healthy and positive at all times.  The best way to keep the relationship healthy is by learning what frustrates them, and commit to not doing those things.

Below I have listed certain things that drive journalists crazy:

  1. By asking if they have received your news release.  You should never ask this question.  The journalist will inform you of any discussion that needs to take place between the two of you.
  2. By sending in publications that do not contain a newsworthy event.  Your publications number one focus should be to cover a newsworthy event, otherwise there is nothing to talk about.
  3. By over crowding the lead.  The lead is to be short, clear, and to the point.  If you load down the lead with too much information the journalist will often times not even read your entire publication.
  4. By attaching pictures to e-mail.  These should not be sent as an attachment.
  5. By creating too much hype in a story.  Journalists only want information that is newsworthy.  They do not want you to exaggerate to make your story try to seem newsworthy.
  6. By holding press conferences when there is not a newsworthy event.  You should only hold a press conference when there is something newsworthy that gives room for a camera angle and questions to be asked.
  7. By using e-mail in place of one-on-one communication.  E-mail is not a substitute for personal communication.
  8. By giving them bribes or gimmicks.  They are not interested in this, instead concentrate on your publication being news worthy.
  9. Don’t ask them when your story will be used.  They often do not know the answer to this question themselves.
  10. Do not hold a junket if there is not a legitimate news story or news angle to cover.  Journalists are only interested in the facts.

That was just some of the things I discovered that make journalists go crazy.  So, jot these things down and remember not to do them.  I would encourage you to read this entire chapter, so you know what to do and what not to do.

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