How to correctly answer awkward questions from journalists

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Public people react differently to pressing questions from the press:someone falls into a stupor, someone tries to gnash his teeth and translate the topic, or turns on emotions and provokes conflict, and someone burns everything in one breath, and then demands remove unwanted material from editors. Therefore, PR managers advise politicians, heads of companies or government agencies and their press services to be especially meticulous in working out tactics of behavior with the media. We have collected some such tips.

Why is it better to pretend to be dead than to refuse to comment </ b>

No matter how tricky the editorial office may seem, it cannot be denied. It is bad if officials ignore telephone or written requests or the desire to meet with a journalist at all. Then the editorial office begins to investigate the public figure lengthwise and crosswise and find out what the official is hiding, that he cannot open himself to the public. And especially if a public person is a civil servant and simply has to answer questions of interest to society. And just a summary in a journalistic material like:”This issue the official refuses to comment” in a potential target audience will already cause distrust and suspicion towards you.

If you are surprised – do not panic!

Usually journalists are interested in the expert comments of a specialist or head of the department in a particular field. And sometimes it happens that you are approached by a journalist, and when asked about your area of ​​competence – you are not ready or did not have time to understand the problem. Here you can use the “no answer” template, which is successfully practiced by politicians and officials. After all, almost any acute question can be answered as follows:”We are doing everything possible to solve this problem and in the future will make every effort to overcome the crisis in this important area.” But! After that, be sure to contact the editors of this media and ask what additional information is needed to prepare the material and in what time frame it can be provided. And here you have every chance to rehabilitate nicely and even establish friendly relations with the media.

Be prepared for surprises

Work out in advance the answers to all possible provocative and sharp questions. This is very useful on the eve of press conferences, briefings, public events or interviews. Remember, no matter how awkward questions you are asked, it is worth anticipating possible contexts and even distortions of your words. Therefore, use only facts, figures, speak in concise precise phrases, and then the journalists themselves will turn to you for information.

The column was prepared by Tetyana Voronchuk, PR- manager

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