How to handle inquiries from MSM journalists, who seem to just suck information out and run?
August 26, 2009 6:29 AM   Subscribe

For better or worse, I am regarded as somewhat of an authority in a particular field (yes I have a blog about it). For this reason, I am getting requests for information about the subject matter from mainstream media journalists and writers. This is a new situation for me and I don't know how best to handle it.

Up until now I have usually tried to help them out - in some cases for several days/hours. However, what has ended up happening more times than not is that they will not mention my blog or me at all, but instead feature people that I help them find (some of them are my direct competitors). I admit that I wouldn't mind the exposure, since for better or worse MSM mentions are still considered by many to be authoritative, so this really sticks in my craw. These journalists often never even send a simple email thanking me for my time, which also doesn't sit well either. I suppose this is all part of how a journalist operates due to tight deadlines or whatever other excuse?

My question is, how do I handle these requests? Do I continue to help them? Request that they credit me for the information they get directly from me? Ignore them? (Politely) tell them to f**k off? Any strategies for dealing with these people would be appreciated.

(anonymous to avoid any charge of self linking since my personal site in profiles links to all my other sites.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Either deny the requests or offer information in exchange for money, knowing that they may not credit you, but you'll have money.
posted by odinsdream at 6:38 AM on August 26, 2009


Don't refer them to other people in your field. Just give them a quote.
posted by musofire at 6:47 AM on August 26, 2009


A news source isn't going to pay you, nor should they. However, I also wouldn't throw days of my life into helping a journalist, unless I was the focus of a feature or something. In my experience, I have gotten quick emails along the way that thank me for my help, but I've never gotten an email at the end just to thank me. Journalists are busy, so they're not going to do that. But they should thank you for your time at the end of a phone call, or when they email you for a clarification .

They should credit you, however, if you're truly giving them information, and not just providing a list of people to turn to. A journalist won't credit you if all you're saying is stuff like, "Oh, so-and-so is doing great stuff in this field" or aren't giving them quotes they can use. Practice giving concise, helpful information. Think in quote-length statements. Learn to explain things in two or three sentences.

Remember that this is a symbiotic relationship. They need you if they're going to get information for a story, and you need them if you want the credit from them. Make yourself the kind of source want they want to write about.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:47 AM on August 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


Are you saying stuff like: "hmm, I'm probably not the best person to ask this but I know a guy..."? Then stop doing that.

It will probably help with the "doing work for nothing" problem too. If you refer them to someone, a journalist will always ask you: oh, great, can you find that guy and set up an interview? And please send me hi res pics of him, and his bio, and a few media clips from the last years with your friend, okay, thanks gotta run. Journalists are leeches, and will use you if they can. Don't let them.

And use the magic word: "Could you please mention my blog where people can find more info on this topic?" Just ask them. If they "forget", send them an e-mail. They'll know they owe you. No need to even say it, journalists are in the trade of getting favors and doing favors - just be sure to let them feel that you know they owe you.
posted by NekulturnY at 6:48 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would respond by stating that you frequently receive such requests and be up-front about the fact that, if you are not named/quoted or otherwise credited for the information you provide, you need to be compensated in some way for providing valuable, authoritative information on the topic of your expertise. State clearly that you can no longer afford to continue investing hours of your time assisting journalists with their work without some form of reciprocity. Anyone who is not interested in dealing with you on those terms will be put off, and those who are still interested will have a clear sense of your expectations.
posted by onshi at 6:50 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, yeah. And don't expect thank you notes. Journalists will forget you the minute they submit their piece and move on to the next thing. A busy journalist will speak to hundreds of people in the course of a week. It's impossible to keep track. If they come back to you later, that's your thanks. It means you helped, and they expect you to help again. Leeches, I said.
posted by NekulturnY at 6:50 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would respond by stating that you frequently receive such requests and be up-front about the fact that, if you are not named/quoted or otherwise credited for the information you provide, you need to be compensated in some way for providing valuable, authoritative information on the topic of your expertise. State clearly that you can no longer afford to continue investing hours of your time assisting journalists with their work without some form of reciprocity. Anyone who is not interested in dealing with you on those terms will be put off, and those who are still interested will have a clear sense of your expectations.

Oh, and this is not good advice (sorry, onshi).

Journalists expect people to work with them for free, and will laugh at you for suggesting this. Correction, they'll have hung up the phone halfway through your statement. A journalist has no budget authority (other than buying you a coke or maybe a lunch if you're very important). As I said, you have to learn to inject yourself into their articles: that's your reward.

If they're calling you, you're already way ahead of the game, you're just not sealing the deal well enough!
posted by NekulturnY at 6:53 AM on August 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


I suppose this is all part of how a journalist operates due to tight deadlines or whatever other excuse?

Yeah, pretty much. You seem to be taking a lot too personally. Reporters are too busy working on tomorrow's story to thank you for your help yesterday. I would assume they thanked you then. (That's only polite.)
As to credit, it's a little difficult to gauge, not knowing what kind of information you are offering. Generally, a reporter should indicate the source of what they are reporting. Is it background stuff they could find in a book if they had time? Or information they truly couldn't get anywhere else? In the latter case, they should be quoting you if they are using facts you provided. (I'll cop to sometimes shortening some background info it took me all day talking to people to find out into "experts say X" just for space and readability reasons.)

Asking for money will just make you seem crass and make them go elsewhere.

If you have the time to talk to them, do. If not, don't. You seem to be stressing unduly.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:58 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


NekulturnY, I didn't mean to suggest that journalists would actually pay cash; rather, my suggestion was meant as a softer alternative to the ignoring or "(Politely) tell[ing] them to f**k off" as the OP put it. By starting off with some variation of, "look, if you're not going to name or quote me, I'm not working for free", the OP gets what says is desired: no time wasted on journos who won't cite. If the goal is actually to maximize exposure, then yeah, another approach is called for.
posted by onshi at 7:02 AM on August 26, 2009


Stop referring them to other people. They came to you for what you know, so you give them the information and if they find some other relevant contacts of their own accord then so be it.
posted by fire&wings at 7:04 AM on August 26, 2009


If the goal is actually to maximize exposure, then yeah, another approach is called for.

In the blogging business I think it's wise to get quoted as often as possible. It's the equivalent of the "location, location, location" of the retail business. You need traffic, and every citation in the mainstream media is like getting a personal highway exit. I think OP is just doing some things wrong.
posted by NekulturnY at 7:05 AM on August 26, 2009


I'm in exactly the same position. For better or worse, I have a prominent blog in a particular niche, and mainstream journalists come to me for info. Like you, I've experienced some maddening behavior.

Online journalism (i.e, blogging) has different rules and etiquette than mainstream journalism. When we help each other out, we expect a link. That's not true with traditional journalism. Traditional journalists don't get the reciprocal nature of the web. Or if they do get it, they ignore it.

Here are a couple of examples:
  • A producer from a CNBC show contacted me about sharing my story. We spent several hours together to produce a one minute video. But despite the fact that my website is integral to my story, I was not allowed to mention it in any way. WTF?
  • I was a guest on a major radio talkshow for my niche. The host was great and mentioned my site, but in return I was asked to sign a restrictive contract indicating that I could not even mention I'd been on the show. WTF?
Even worse are the blatant errors that creep into articles even after fact-checking and even from seasoned journalists. People complain about the veracity of blogs. Let me tell you that mainstream media stories are just as bad. (I had the head tech editor from the NYT butcher the facts once, which blew my mind.) What's even worse is that MSM publications often have their story written in advance and simply go out looking for quotes to plug in. (Here's a little rant about this problem at my personal blog: The sausage factory: Thoughts on the new media and the old.)

My method of handling this is to be selective about the journalists I speak to. Some of them are great. I've established relationships with several from major outlets for my field, and we sometimes talk on the phone about non-story-related stuff just to bounce ideas off each other. Kind of bizarre for me to think about, but it's true.

In many cases, I try to tell myself, even if I'm not getting any immediate credit, I'm building a network. Journalists jump from outlet to outlet all of the time, and you never know when somebody's going to be in a position to do you a favor.

Anyhow, I'm kind of rambling, but I feel your pain. I'm interested to see what others have to say.

NekulturnY writes: In the blogging business I think it's wise to get quoted as often as possible. It's the equivalent of the "location, location, location" of the retail business. You need traffic, and every citation in the mainstream media is like getting a personal highway exit.

Well, yes and no. As I said, I've been quoted in some major media outlets over the past few years. The traffic generated from these mentions is miniscule (especially since many still don't hotlink URLs when mentioned — asinine). The value, I think, is in the link itself, when present. I may not get much traffic from a NYT link, but Google surely sees this as authoritative, which in some ways is better. And being mentioned on television? Not worth much at all? Local television? Not worth anything at all. People severely overestimate the power of traditional media as it relates to bloggers.
posted by jdroth at 7:16 AM on August 26, 2009 [8 favorites]


Oh man, I have been there. Still annoyed at myself for helping out the London Times reporter who cooed about giving me exposure, after falling for the info-leech thing dozens of times.

Because it can be cool to be mentioned, I don't think I could ever stop helping. But maybe the key is to limit the help to very small and reasonable amounts. Too often, thinking I am now on a team with my fellow reporter, I have rushed into action to send Word files and stuff from my archives and videos...and have learned that only a small subset of very classy newspeople will acknowledge the effort.
posted by Kirklander at 7:38 AM on August 26, 2009


Just wanted to add that in addition to journalists not having budget authority, in many cases they are actually bound by clear ethics codes about not paying for information, and if they did make such an offer, they might be endangering their employment.
posted by Miko at 7:47 AM on August 26, 2009


Yeah, unless it's a tabloid, don't ask for money. Also, jdroth goes to the key issue of "exposure." It's the coin that Web content sites like eHow promise in order to get cheap content and can be just as worthless in certain media situations.
posted by Kirklander at 7:53 AM on August 26, 2009


For what it's worth, getting quoted in the mainstream media can be something of a mixed blessing. A lot of academics I know won't give quotes to reporters at all, because they're tired of seeing their ideas misrepresented in print.

(One big recent example of this was the kerfuffle over the Large Hadron Collider. A few scientists said, "Well, we don't know what's going to happen. Could it create a black hole? Our current theory doesn't predict that it will, but maybe our current theory is wrong — that's why we do experiments like this." And the media put the story out as "OMG SCIENTISTS SAY LARGE HADRON COLLIDER WILL CREATE BLACK HOLE AND KILL US ALL.")

Now, it sounds like you're not an academic. But the same principle applies to you and your work. If you give a quote, you'll get a little bit of publicity, but you'll also run the risk of seeing your ideas mangled. If you just say "Hey, go ask Bob, he knows about this stuff," it's Bob who gets the publicity, but it's also Bob who has to deal with seeing misinformation spread under his name. An accurate presentation of your ideas, with your name on it, is a nice surprise when it happens, but you can't count on it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:02 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, getting quoted in the mainstream media can be something of a mixed blessing. A lot of academics I know won't give quotes to reporters at all, because they're tired of seeing their ideas misrepresented in print.

For what it's worth, a lot of journalists are a lot less imbecillic than a lot of academics think they are. If a journalist asks: could the large hadron collider be dangerous, and you don't know, just say: WE DONT KNOW.

Use English, instead of using sentences like: "Our current model doesn't predict danger." That was not the question. Academics always think they first have to re-engineer the question to be less, oh, "populist", "moronic", "vulgarising", etc. etc. They do not by any means want to be associated with vulgarism, oh, no sir. We're academics, you know. We have serious jobs. We actually know things, instead of having to ask other people.

Well, if you're so smart, start answering the question. Is the Large Hadron Collider dangerous? Start with "Yes" or "No". Or maybe you don't know. If you don't know, why do you feel a need to say "our current model does not predict danger, nor doesn't it predict safety". That's Dilbert talk.

Academics fear journalists because they treat USA Today like a peer reviewed publication. They scorn colleagues who earnestly try to help USA Today explain stuff like the LHC. I once interviewed a sexuologist who wrote a PhD about, you know, sex. He tried in earnest to have me not mention the word "sex" in the article about his PhD. He was worried that his superior wouldn't like the word "sex". Yeah.

I know there's a lot of hacks out there, but there's also a lot of people who inanely blab when asked a question, and profess indignation if a journalist tries to make sense of what they say. Sorry for the rant.
posted by NekulturnY at 8:25 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let me fling some hard-won truths at you (note: I did not read the replies, fwiw):

1. demand credit always. That's the only reason to do this stuff. That said, no reporter can GUARANTEE it. Even if they diligently include you in the story, their editors might nix it. But keep track of who leaves you out and who misquotes you, and either don't answer their future queries or push back a little harder when you do. Also, in time, you'll start to get an instinct for when people are squeezing you for background to get up to speed and when they really want to get a quote from you. You get better at everything with practice, so I'd suggest you spend the time for now. Press-manship is a good skill to have in your arsenal.

2. people eat bugs to get on TV. journalists don't have to thank you, don't have to even treat you politely. They know that everyone's clamoring for media exposure, and that they are the gatekeepers. They feel they are doing you the favor, and nothing can change that mindset.

3. they're kind of right. of the many ways you can advance in this world, having "a following out there" is pretty much the best ammo you can carry. Media exposure is the easiest way to build a following. If you do want to advance in this world, that is (and I certainly understand and respect those who don't!).

4. you need to decide how badly you want #3. If it's a priority, say yes to all media calls. Remember you don't have to answer every question. And you can answer tersely (in fact, always be terse. They're never going to print your entire filibuster, and if they're soliciting long stretches of info, it's likely to use as background, rather than quotation. Also, terse replies take less time, and time seems to be your issue). Just don't answer half-heartedly, because you'll come off looking like a putz in print. If it's not a priority, say yes only to requests that interest you from people whose questions sound intelligent, and who seem to be at least somewhat clueful as to your work and stance. In time, you'll build relationships and know who to say "yes" to and who to say "no" to. And if your area is quite narrow, and you're, like, The Dude, then you'll have leverage when journalists who've burned you before really really need something from you.

5. There's a supremely irritating new thing some young reporters do: they shoot all potential sources a templated list of open ended questions and ask them to flesh out answers in email. They then use this as fodder to build their articles. Lazy bastards. OTOH, if an interview is conducted over the phone, there's more chance you'll be misquoted. But I definitely try to avoid working as a stringer for lazy journalists, and always reject inquiries involving templated lists of open-ended questions. Problem is that only the arrogant writers working for top media tend to do this, so there's some sacrifice involved.

6. as for the time suck, yup. You can think of this in several ways. First, it's part of the overhead involved in being significant/prominent. Everyone you've ever heard of, who is interviewed and appears on TV, spends a significant amount of their time fielding press inquiries. If you don't dig it, duh, you can say "no".....and not be prominent or acquire a larger following.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 8:31 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


A few thoughts from someone who is a somewhat analagous position as a media source (sell-side security analyst):

(1) you have more to gain than just quotes from a reporter or columnist at a major paper or trade press -- they have deep relationships and if you are useful to them they will tend to be useful to you if you ask.

(2) while not referring to competitors makes perfect sense, a blanket no-referral policy isn't going to help. as a general rule, there are more sources (particularly blogger sources) than a reporter could use; being stingy will just you crossed off the list.

(3) however, it is not stingy to keep interviews brief. Spending hours or days with a reporter probably convinces that reporter your time is cheap, your influence sparse, and the story-value of quoting you is minimal. 20 minutes with a minor reporter, an hour with a serious big time writer or columnist, is more than fair.

(4) Ask for, but don't demand, quote play. (Printing a quote can be annoying for a mainstream journalist, because each quoted person will often trigger significant fact-checking and attribution verification that they wouldn't have to deal with.) If you don't get a quote you asked to receive, politely remonstrate, but don't get huffy. (See "crossed off the list" above.)

(5) Finally -- sometimes count your blessings. It is the rule, not the exception, for a story to use expert quotes in ways that are least somewhat inaccurate or misleading, and a not-insignificant portion of those are howlers -- quotes which in their text and context, if taken at face value, would lead another expert to conclude that you are an idiot or charlatan.
posted by MattD at 8:43 AM on August 26, 2009


"you have more to gain than just quotes from a reporter or columnist at a major paper or trade press -- they have deep relationships and if you are useful to them they will tend to be useful to you if you ask."

Mostly trade press. Less so mainstream publications IMO.


"Spending hours or days with a reporter probably convinces that reporter your time is cheap, your influence sparse, and the story-value of quoting you is minimal"

.....unless they're doing a profile of you.

Very true about the hair-trigger on getting crossed off lists.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 8:47 AM on August 26, 2009


They feel they are doing you the favor, and nothing can change that mindset.


Sorry, this is bullshit. I'm always grateful for help and say so.
I realize most of the people I talk to are busy, and that many have been burned by moron reporters in the past, and that it can be tiresome to have to talk in little words about their work to someone who isn't an expert in their field. I always feel they are doing me the favor.

That said, just for context and perspective, you must understand that Nobel Prize winners, retired generals and famous artists will routinely get on the phone to explain this or that without demanding money and thank you notes.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:06 AM on August 26, 2009


have to log off for the rest of the day, sorry. not ignoring any responses to this.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:07 AM on August 26, 2009


CunningLinguist said: ...you must understand that Nobel Prize winners, retired generals and famous artists will routinely get on the phone to explain this or that without demanding money and thank you notes.

Presumably the Nobel Prize winner is going to get attribution. The retired general might not expect to be quoted, but then again he may be providing information for his own purposes (beyond raising/maintaining a media profile). Far from having delusions of self-importance, I think that (as others have said) the OP just feels burned, needs to decide if it's worth the hassle, and needs and act accordingly. There are lots of great tips here.
posted by onshi at 9:16 AM on August 26, 2009


1) I am a journalist.

2) Journalists are lazy. (Call it “efficient,” call it “under tight deadlines,” but the less work needed, the better.)

3) Journalists are calling you for information. They hope you can give them that information.

4) *** this is the important one *** Journalists will only make a second call when the first call doesn’t give them what they need.

5) If a journalists calls (and credits) someone else after you, it is only because you didn’t give them what they were looking for.

6) If you don’t give them what they’re needing, why should they credit you? Referring a reporter to someone else is cheep. Someone referred the reporter to you. Should they get credit? What if it was Google?

7) Information is not enough. TV favors the attractive. Radio favors the eloquent. Print favors the pithy. Are you being those? Are you sure?

8) If you can provide the content, and in a form that works, you won’t need to worry about being credited. They’ll quote you, and they’ll need to attribute the quote to someone.
posted by ericc at 9:17 AM on August 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


ericc has it. If you're not being quoted, it's because you're not giving them the info they need. And if you're giving them sources, especially direct competitors [!!! smacks forehead], those competitors must be giving them a) better info and/or b) better soundbites.

And perhaps you are conflating attribution (your name/expertise) with direct funnelling to your site. The first IMO would be mandatory, the latter dependent upon the publication the journalist is working for.

And jjj, I've emailed sources lists of a few open-ended questions, and said "these are the types of info I'll be looking for" to help sources be prepared. This is especially helpful if I'm writing a story using quotes from, say, moms of small children who do *not* have time to spend yakking on a phone interview. I always followup with a short phone interview, so I feel like I get in-the-moment answers as well as more considered ones.

Once I wrote a piece for Brides that profiled a woman who would not get it through her head that I could reference her and even her site, but that I could NOT link or mention a sub-area of her site that directly competed with Brides. You may want to dig a little deeper and see if what you're asking for is something like this. (I doubt this is the case, however -- it sounds as if you are basically referring the journalist to better sources.)
posted by mdiskin at 10:03 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've worked as a journalist, at small outlets and large. There's plenty of good advice for working with reporters in this thread, and also some truly terrible advice (ignore anyone who says demand X! Likewise, any calls for monetary compensation are laughable).

Here's my perspective: you'll find it a lot easier to deal with reporters if you keep in mind that the entire exchange is about writing a story. It's not about sending traffic to your blog, or making sure everyone gets their fair share of credit and kudos. You, as a source, are simply offering information to the reporter. The reporter may, or may not, use and attribute that information based on one thing: does it make the story better? Your reasons for sharing the information may be varied (I want more exposure! I want more traffic! I want to raise awareness of this important issue! etc, etc), but the reporter has (generally) only one goal: get the story done before deadline in a way that is acceptable to his editor.

If you don't like the idea of spending a bunch of time teaching a reporter the ins and outs of an issue only to find that you weren't quoted, feel free not to. It's always a hazard. Trying little tricks like demanding good placement, or a link, or money, or something like that isn't going to help. Give the information you have, and hope it's useful enough to merit placement in the story. If it sounds unfair, it is. Journalism isn't about making sources happy or spreading favors equally around. It's about writing an informative story.

If you want to increase your chances of being specifically quoted, however, it does help (as others have pointed out) to be concise and direct as well as informative.
posted by Eldritch at 10:12 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


"And jjj, I've emailed sources lists of a few open-ended questions, and said "these are the types of info I'll be looking for" to help sources be prepared."


Oh, no problem with that at all! But, believe it or not, I've gotten lists of open-ended questions with non-personalized instructions to fill in the answers as thoroughly as possible and mail it back by a given deadline....and it was very clear that the reporter had sent the same thing out to a number of sources. I felt like a junior high student facing a homework assignment. This was for a big mag....GQ if I recall correctly, though I'm not sure. Of course, only a writer for a really big exposure publication can hope to get sources to actually go for this. I didn't, though.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 10:16 AM on August 26, 2009


There are good reporters and bad ones. Like everything else, the bad seem to outnumber the good. There are quite a number of counterintuitives that ones need to get used to when dealing with the press.

First and foremost: the reporter is not your friend. Many try to be friendly, but that's just politeness and a good professional attitude. Everything you say to a reporter is fair game to publish. There is no downtime, no such thing as "off the record". It's not as bad as being in the witness box, but it's better to be wordshy than speculative.

That said, remeber that the journalist is often the best, perhaps the only conduit to the public, and that general opinion will be largely filtered through their reportage. From this perspective, it's often useful to have longer discussions, particularly with print reporters, to give them context for their reports. You may not end up in the print, but more than once, my background has framed a reporter's story. From my point of view, that's a positive discussion.

Don't be too surprised by the distorted lens of reporting. I've frequently had five minute discussions edited down to a single sentance, then presented as a direct quote. Perhaps I never said those exact words in that order, but as long as the sense and nuance is ok, I don't have a problem with it. They only have so much time/space.

Journalists will seldom call you back to let you know that a story is about to run, even if it happens months later. I've had comments from family members about quotations in print that I'd forgotten I'd done the press for months earlier. I'm just glad when they spell my name right!

Finally, lastly, some of the trickiest people to deal with are not journalists, who at least have some sense of ethics and impartiality, but the longer form print authors and documentry film makers. They are often, explicity even, advocates of a specific position and expect you to support or deny their position (you're either the "good expert" or the "bad expert"). I've had an ostensible "journalist" stop camera and tell me what to say on air because I wasn't being extreme enough for him. As if!
posted by bonehead at 12:31 PM on August 26, 2009


[comment removed - quit insulting people, thanks]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:49 PM on August 26, 2009


Just saw this, showing that bloggers don't get credit whether they help journalists a little, or break some big news. I'm on the side of the suggestions which involve you asserting yourself as the expert reporters need to talk to, rather than passing them off to others. All the bloggers who've appeared in the media as talking heads have spent their time talking about other people's stuff, so there's no reason you can't do that, too. If they want research done, they need to do it themselves, or have their interns do it for them (Ha! Interns...)

Or, if you're feeling passive-aggressive: whenever a reporter tells you what they want your help with, politely decline to help but then do your own story on whatever the journalist is working on. Scoop the bastards, and they'll stop asking you for help.
posted by AzraelBrown at 3:39 PM on August 26, 2009


follow-up from the OP
Thank you for all the great suggestions. The comments by jdroth in particular hit home for me. To clarify one point, I never asked about getting compensated for cooperating with a journalist, and it never entered my mind. I may not know much about journalism but I do know that paying for information is usually considered to be unethical. I'm going to try to figure out a way of fobbing off some of these 'journalists' off while helping the more (hopefully) deserving ones. Now I have to try to figure out how to tell who the good ones are.

(The LHC=Black Hole story reminded me that I've had at least one instance where I was quoted, but what I said was twisted around so much that it ended up looking like I was endorsing something diametrically opposed to what I said. So maybe it's better not to get quoted at all in some cases.)
posted by jessamyn at 7:06 PM on August 28, 2009


research the reporter before talking to them. as several have pointed out, not all reporters are created equal. 5 minutes of quick reads of past stories will give you a general idea about the reporter.

think about the question for a few seconds before answering, try to speak in complete quotes.

only agree to talk to reporters when you have a personal agenda. they do (not a bad thing, their agenda is to create content, make sure you have your own).
posted by el io at 7:50 PM on August 28, 2009


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