I Don’t Think I Said That

If you are being interviewed by a newspaper or magazine journalist, don’t let them put words in your mouth, as this can lead to unintended, negative quotes ending up in the article. It’s always risky just to leave the reporter to frame the debate. For example, they may use a pejorative word or phrase in their question, which you might rush to refute. But in the process you can give the journalist a quote that will look very defensive – such as “Hasn’t your behaviour been very shifty in this case?” To which you might respond “Well I wouldn’t say we’ve been shifty, but …” You would never have used the word shifty unless the reporter had introduced it into the conversation, but that’s now the word that appears in the headline.   So, try not to repeat the offending term. Instead, use your own words, for example “I believe we did the right thing in the circumstances …”