Don’t be offended by a reporter’s style

Reporters tend to be under a lot of pressure. They work in a highly competitive environment, and those working in hard news live in constant fear of ‘missing the story’. It’s not just the nationals or the TV news channels that take this extremely seriously. Rival trade publications compare each other closely and the reporter who regularly has weaker quotes and a less compelling angle than the competition can expect a kicking from the Editor. This means they may frequently appear impatient, and when under particular stress this can sometimes veer into unpleasantness. Most, though, tend to find they get further by charm than by bullying. Broadcast journalists in particular see it as their role to be provocative and play ‘devil’s advocate’ in their interviews – questions such as ‘Your last product was a disastrous failure, why on earth do you think this one is going to do any better?’ do not necessarily mean that the reporter hates you, although it can feel like that at the time. It is more likely that they want to demonstrate to the world that they have given you a good grilling and are not just an arm of your PR machine. If you give a good solid answer, they will respect you and usually move on to the next one. (Taken from The M-factor: media confidence for business leaders and managers, by Tom Maddocks)