When journalists need comment from subject experts on a current topic, they often put calls out to at least a couple of rival firms – whoever responds quickest tends to get their quote used, or the slot on the air. Even if you are busy, try to prioritise returning a journalist’s call – don’t plough through all the to-do list first. Nowadays deadlines are more often measured in minutes than hours – they usually need it now! Even the Sunday papers no longer have ‘all week’ to write their stories, as a lot of people imagine. Many of them are part of seven-day operations with their daily counterparts, and the majority of their stories are written in the second half of the week. The reporter will usually be lucky to have more than half a day to work on a story.
So find out what the reporter needs, and the angle they’re interested in, then give yourself a few minutes to prepare some key points before you ring them back. If there is a big announcement, the radio and TV news channels will aim for informed response ‘live’ on air within a few minutes. This is daunting for most people, but a great chance for those who can anticipate the current hot topics, to be ready and grab the opportunity to ‘have a view’. Seize the moment!