A list of Do’s and Don’ts for Addressing the Media

A list of Do’s and Don’ts for Addressing the Media

Media Do’s:

  • Have a one sentence message you want to communicate no matter what questions are asked
  • Be alert and positive
  • Keep calm. Do not become ruffled by difficult questions. Look and sound calm and controlled,
  • Stand behind the microphone and use comfortable, appropriate gestures
  • Look the interviewer in the eye. Avoid looking at the ground, sky, or camera.
  • Make your point in 20 seconds or less. Speak in complete sentences.
  • Put your answers into words the public will understand, avoid using jargon.
  • Use examples to clarify your message. Especially one that improve your position and that of the company.
  • Offer information you want the public to know, even if the reporter doesn’t ask.
  • Be cooperative, however, know what you should and shouldn’t say.
  • When being interviewed, do it without company logos within the camera view.

Media Don’ts:

  • Never say “No Comment.” Whenever possible explain why you can’t give them information.
  • Don’t let a reporter put words in your mouth; correct misstatements before you answer any questions.
  • Don’t say or do anything you don’t want reported. There’s no such thing as “off the record.”
  • Don’t give unnecessary information that may be detrimental. Answer only the questions you’re asked.
  • Don’t speculate or talk about anything outside your area of expertise or known facts. It’s OK to say, “I’m not sure” or “I’ll find out.”
  • Avoid answering “what if” questions. Instead, respond with something like, “I wouldn’t want to speculate on that, however…” and insert your positive message.
  • Don’t fill in silent pauses. Say what you have to say, and stop!
  • Don’t keep talking as you’re walking away. Stop talking before you walk.


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