Print vs. Television
(or watch out for the reporter with the pencil)
Most of our students have a great fear of reporters
with mikes in hand and cameras pointed at them. This
is certainly understandable. It is an intimidating moment.
Then, if the story runs, you have to endure watching
yourself. This is often deceptive. We may look just
fine to others, but as we watch we remember all the
fear we were feeling and see it with a distorted view.
What may surprise you is that it is our professional
opinion that print tends to be much more difficult and
often is more dangerous. Print interviews, by their
very nature, are longer and involve many more questions.
The quotes are not longer than on television but there
will be more of them. We are relying on the print reporter
to have heard our responses correctly and to quote us
accurately. In reality we often see quotes that are
in fact paraphrases or what the reporter thinks we have
said. It even happens that a reporter will make a statement
and get a positive response from you and then quote
you as having made the statement.
Another area of concern is the environment in which
you find yourself being interviewed. If there are mikes
and/or cameras you operate at the top of your game and
recognize the dangers. With print the interview most
times will be by telephone. You will be in your familiar
office where you spend time on the phone with all sorts
of people all day. It is easy to lose sight of the critical
nature of what you are saying to that reporter on the
other end of the line.
Finally, there is need to understand that print lives.
You dont see videotapes tacked on bulletin boards.
You do see that happen with newspaper or magazine articles
all the time. Then there is the ability of reporters
to access databases. A story printed about you or your
company several years ago can pop up in a database search
and provide material for a reporter to include in a
current story. We have a client that had an inaccurate
fact reported four years ago. We know when that fact
appears in a current story that the reporter found that
article in a search and took it to be accurate.
What this all means is that:
- You cannot take print lightly
- You must maintain your discipline throughou
- You must make your statements very strong and easily
- Key messages need to be repeated often so the reporter
cant miss them
- And, of course, you must recognize the cardinal
rule: if you dont want to see it and you dont
want to hear it, dont say it.