As I blogged a few weeks ago, I love this quote by Mark Twain: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”
In our media training workshops we teach participants that an interesting, relevant quote can make one of their messages more attractive to a reporter and more likely they'll include it in their story.
We use Twain’s quote as an example and always challenge workshop participants to let us know if they find a way to use it in an interview.
No one ever has. Until now.
During a recent media training workshop, a participant asked a question that we hear often: “What do I do if a reporter is interviewing me and I can tell from their questions that they already have a preconceived notion of how the story is going to turn out?”
Implied in the question, of course, is the assumption that a reporter who points an interview in a particular direction has evil intentions, but that’s almost never the case.
The terrific writers at GreenBiz have once again provided several articles about how Earth Day is overloaded with green puff. Matt Wheeland’s Earth Day Fail: The worst pitches of 2012 talks about the bizarre ways PR folks are trying to get their products and services noticed on Earth Day, and Amy Westerfalt’s Has Earth Day marketing jumped the shark?questions why they’re even trying at all.
In case you missed it, the Wall Street Journal quotes a Google spokesperson making perfect use of a flag in a story about new investigations into the company’s privacy practices.
The unidentified Google spokeswoman is quoted as saying, “We will of course cooperate with any officials who have questions. But it’s important to remember that we didn’t anticipate this would happen, and we have been removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers.”
In our media training sessions we do our best to let participants in on some of reporters’ best kept secrets – the little tricks they frequently use in the course of gathering information, conducting interviews and writing stories.
We’re familiar with these tactics because in our many years as reporters and producers, we used many of them! But I admit I was shocked to learn what’s apparently been going on between scribblers and their police sources across the pond.
In the court of public opinion, a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice is as good as guilty.
A front page story in this morning’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel details how Justice Michael Gableman has cast votes in favor of a law firm that has provided him free legal counsel in an ethics case. Whether that’s right or wrong is up to you to decide – that’s not what I’m writing about.
I’m writing about a short sentence that appears about halfway through the story: “Gableman has not responded to requests for an interview.”
For the California-based non-profit Love Ride Foundation, last month’s headline in the LA Times could hardly have been more devastating: “Motorcycle accidents cast gray clouds over Love Ride event.”
It often seems that businesses and organizations are in denial when it comes to crisis communications. They tend to fear taking the scary step of getting company leaders and stakeholders in a room to brainstorm for worst-case scenarios. But if they do, they may just find out they’re much better prepared to handle a crisis when it comes along.
Now they have a place to start with their risk management team – but they still need help with the communications directions.
In the popular comic strip For Better or For Worse, one character makes a suggestion to another who is hoping to mend a damaged friendship: “An apology is the superglue of life! It can repair just about anything!!”
That advice is sound, but a little incomplete. The last sentence could have read, “It can repair just about anything – as long as you get it right!”