It’s one of the most asked questions in my media training sessions: “Should I ever freeze a reporter out?”
When I hear that, I immediately think of a scene out of The Godfather or Fatal Attraction, complete with horses’ heads and boiled bunnies. I imagine my clients suddenly appearing as caped crusaders, known by names like “The Wronged Spokespersons,” who exact their revenge on unfair journalists by “rubbing them out.”
Freezing out a reporter is a dramatic step, and it often backfires. After all, don’t you think a company is guilty when a newscaster says, “We contacted representatives from the Huge Corporation, and they refused to return our calls”?
So before making a decision to blacklist a reporter, here are some remedies that may solve your problem:
1. Show it to a neutral party: It’s an age-old truth: The closer you are to a news story, the more likely it is you will think it’s a negative story. Ask neutral parties to read, listen to, or watch the story and give you their views. Oftentimes, you will be surprised to find that the message you hoped would get through to the audience got through.