List Categories | List All Articles | List Articles By Title
Media Relations: What To Do When Youre Misquoted
When ABC News anchor Peter Jennings announced he had lung cancer last month, reporters who cover the media went into breaking news mode.
What did it mean to the future of network news, they wondered? What would ABC News do to recover from the tragic announcement? And what sources could they talk to who would fill them in on the latest rumblings at ABC?
That's when my phone rang. A reporter from PR Week, a prestigious public relations magazine, was ready to interview me. As a former ABC News production coordinator, they thought I might have something to say.
Since the reporter and I had corresponded over e-mail prior to her call, I knew the call would be coming. I took some time to prepare my comments, the same way I coach my clients to do so.
But when the story came out, something had gone terribly awry.
Here's what the author wrote:
"Brad Phillips, a former production coordinator for Nightline who now owns his own PR firm, said the network made a mistake in not grooming an obvious successor for Jennings. 'The day of the star anchor is over,' he said. 'The news about Peter Jennings may be the tipping point that dismantles the news division.'"
Note that last line. Here's what I actually said:
"The sad news about Peter Jennings may be the tipping point that devastates the news division."
Far from proclaiming that ABC News was dismantling its news division, I was saying that the loss could be a deeply hurtful blow for ABC.
Upon reading the article, some Nightline producers walked out of their offices, saying, "Did you see what Brad Phillips said?" They thought one of their own was rubbing the bad news in even further. The only problem, of course, is that I didn't say it.
So how can a full-time media trainer have his quotes reported inaccurately? Simply put, it happens. This is a business of percentages, not perfection, and whenever you're dealing with another person, in this case a reporter, there is a margin of error. But since this was the first misquote I've ever had after dozens of successful interviews through the years, it reinforces that being well prepared for interviews almost always works.
Still, I now personally understand how frustrating it feels to have your name followed by words you didn't say, and I had to temper my instinct to respond with the advice I've always given my clients.
First, I tell clients, the closer you are to a story, the more inaccurate it appears.
Second, if they respond to an error that the reporter regards as a nitpicking point, it could alienate that journalist for future stories.
Third, if a correction is ultimately published, you've then widened the number of people who are aware of the original error - those who read it the first time, and those who read it as part of the correction.
To be clear, corrections are sometimes warranted. In this case, I didn't deem this infraction serious enough to request one. Instead of assuming the reporter spiced up my quote to add more drama to her story, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt that she had just made an honest mistake.
Ultimately, I did what I tell my clients to do. I contacted my friends at ABC News directly to tell them what happened. I decided not to correct the record with the reporter, since I'd rather have her as an ally for future stories. And the most important thing I will not do, which many clients understandably want to do in these circumstances, is avoid the phone the next time a reporter calls. It's the wrong response. When properly prepared, you'll get it right the vast majority of the time. And I'll take those odds every time.
Brad Phillips is the founder and president of Phillips Media Relations. He was formerly a journalist for ABC News and CNN, and headed the media relations department for the second largest environmental group in the world.
For more information and to sign up for free monthly media relations and media training e-tips, visit http://www.PhillipsMediaRelations.com
The Three-Mile Radius
In last year's animated film Shrek II, a giant gingerbread man steps on a building and sends all the customers scurrying across the street. The name of the establishment they leave and the one they run into is "Farbucks" - poking fun at the fact that an unending stream of patrons appears willing to pay four bucks for a cup of coffee.
Is PR Right for You? 6 Questions to Ask
When most people think about marketing, they think advertising. While advertising is a part of marketing, marketing is much bigger than advertising.
Advertising and Community Relations -- Get the Best of Both Worlds
Have you ever noticed that in communities without big universities, high school sports take on an even bigger importance?That's what it's like where I live.But like everywhere else in the country, our high school sports are always looking for ways to make a few extra bucks.
PR Planning: Mapping Out Your Strategies, Tactics
With all due respect to all those stereotypical males out there who hate to ask for directions, the fact is that even if the territory is somewhat familiar, if you don't have a roadmap and follow its directions, you're going to get hopelessly lost.So it goes with your PR program.
Go Ahead, Marketing-Minded Financial Planners, Call a Reporter
Yes, you can call a reporter.I've said it before, in dozens of articles and presentations to financial planners looking for free publicity.
All Youve Got To Lose Is Everything
Everything, that is, if you ignore those folks whose behaviors have the greatest effect on your business.What those people see and believe about your enterprise, pretty well determines what their follow-on behaviors will be - for example, do business with you, or move on to someone else.
Imagine PR Like This Helping You
As the kids say, how cool is this?You're a business, non-profit or association manager and, finally, you decide to do something positive about the behaviors of those important outside audiences of yours - behaviors that MOST affect your operation.What you're doing, of course, is creating the very external stakeholder behaviors that will help achieve your managerial objectives.
Get Write To It
The toughest thing about writing a news release is getting started. But writing doesn't have to be hard.
Financial Planners, Want Free Marketing and Publicity? The Key is Understanding the Media
The media need you. Need the information and expertise you offer, that is.
Does the PR Blueprint Work?
Managers, please take a minute and read two sentences: People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.
How To Get Zero Cost Publicity For Your Business Part 1
Would you like to expand the volume of your business? You can let thousands know about your service, your store, or your new product without spending a penny. Whether you want to make more sales or get an offer on television, you can broaden the scope of your clients by free publicity.
PR: A Potent Force for Success
What's REALLY potent for a business, non-profit or association manager is public relations' ability to alter individual perception leading to changed behaviors. And then, to persuade those key outside folks to the manager's way of thinking, and help move them to take actions that allow their department, division or subsidiary to succeed.
Life After Press Release Distribution?
A few weeks ago I was participating on an on-line message board. One of the members was a new business owner who was very excited about sending out her company's first press release.
Internet Etiquette for Business Success
You're trying to recruit a downline into your program, you've tried every trick in the book, and no one is signing up. Is there a sign on your back that says you've got the plague? Maybe you're lacking in internet etiquette.
PRs Big Bang Theory
Lots of theories out there about public relations.Everything from "publicity's the thing!," "the care and feeding of reputations and "sales support is primary" to "gain and hold public acceptance," and "issue management's the thing.
Marketing-Minded Financial Planners: Get Free Publicity by Choosing the Right Outlets
Sure, any publicity is good. But don't invest time and effort to be in "Lucky: The Magazine for Shopping" if your major topic is planning for college.
The PR And Marketing Expert Has A Smattering Of Knowledge Regarding Nearly Everything And Is Certain
PR, that is public-relations, leads the way to effective advertising; opening the channel of communication and allowing the advertising to be acceptable. Public-relations is really all the different ways of communicating that enable society and individuals and groups and organizations to better function and more understandably communicate with each other.
Driving Near School Buses in Company Vehicles
School BusesWhen approaching a school bus: Slow down; If the amber lights are flashing, the bus is about to stop; If the red lights are flashing, the bus is stopped; In many states it is against the law to pass a school bus with flashing red lights and/or an extended stop arm.Do not upset school bus drivers.
Managers: Do You Trust Your PR?
You can if, as a business, non-profit or association manager, you can honestly say you are doing something positive about the behaviors of those important external audiences of yours that most affect your department, group, division or subsidiary.And particularly so when you persuade those key outside folks to your way of thinking, and move them to take actions that allow you to succeed.
PR: Lets Talk Fundamentals
How much more fundamental can you get than this? As a business, non-profit or association manager, if you don't get your most important outside audiences on your side, you will fail.To me, failure means key target audiences that don't behave as you want them to.
home | site map
All articles are copyright to their owners.
Note: this website lists articles, We do not Write Articles !