How to deal with a hostile media
In my book, The PR Masterclass, I have a chapter on dealing with incoming media calls. Among other things, it covers how to deal with potentially hostile interviews – especially useful when you’re dealing with a PR crisis. Here’s a short extract:
It is, of course, always important to assess whether a request for an interview, or other involvement, is a trap. If your business is in any way controversial – maybe you build wind turbines, which campaigners hate – make sure you find out exactly what the journalist’s plan is.
If a journalist wants to do the dirty on you, he will be extremely vague about the nature of the intended coverage, which should be a red flag. There is no shame in resist- ing a request for an interview until the editorial line being promoted is revealed.
If you are providing an interview with an executive, and you have the slightest worry, exchange emails with the media organisation confirming what they have told you on the phone about the scope and purpose of the interview and how long it will last.
The book also covers how to respond to negative coverage, and the rare occasions when it’s appropriate to withdraw the use of a press office. It says:
There may be times – especially if your company is controversial – that you find that a publication routinely writes negative stories about you. This can be depressing, and how you deal with it requires caution.
You can order the book here.