Can You Control What They Write?

Many company spokespeople hate the fact that they cannot really control what reporters write – it makes media interviews very risky in their view, particularly if they are involved in any controversial activities, such as mining, private equity, or even banking. Most newspapers won’t let you see the article before it appears, although some smaller publications will. However, there are many things you can do to reduce the risk of being misrepresented, even though you can’t eliminate them completely. It really comes down to effective preparation and media coaching, to ensure that your points are really clearly stated and, if possible, incapable of being misunderstood. A lot of the time the problem comes down to the fact that journalists, being human beings, are not perfect. They sometimes get things wrong, through human error or simple misunderstanding. In addition, they may speak to several sources, and get contrasting views of a particular issue; others may have a different perception of events. Sometimes you just have to accept this and grow a thicker skin.