Is the Reporter Being Rude?

Reporters can sometimes appear terse or difficult – don’t forget they are often under a lot of pressure. Especially for those working in hard news, there is the constant fear of ‘missing the story’. You would expect the daily papers and TV news channels to take this approach, but even rival trade publications compare each other closely. Any journalist who regularly misses the main angle and has weaker quotes than the competition may soon find themselves out of a job. So they can sometimes appear impatient, and this can edge towards unpleasantness, although most find they get better material by charm than by bullying. TV and radio presenters in particular often see it as their job to be provocative, to make a livelier interview. They may play ‘devil’s advocate’ with their questions, such as ‘Your product is enormously overpriced compared with the competition, aren’t you ripping off your customers?’ It can be very off putting, but it probably just means they want to show they’ve given you a good grilling, rather than looking like an arm of your PR machine. If you give a clear, reasonable answer, you will earn their respect and they’ll usually move on to the next point.