misquoting . . . .


Barry Shein (encore!pinocchio!bzs@talcott.harvard.edu)
Sun, 6 Nov 88 02:10:18 est


If I can give some small, oft-repeated advice about speaking to the
media...(I apologize for this slightly off-base note but a *lot* of us
are getting calls from the media about this worm thing, maybe this
will be of some help.)

1. Don't get starry-eyed and speak to them if you're not in a position
to speak to them. They will misquote you, screw it up etc and your
boss will be sure s/he could have done better, is p-o'd that you got
the interview and not him/her and you will feel betrayed (which is
naive.) Remember, you will take the heat if they get it wrong, people
will assume you were somehow unclear.

2. Don't take their questions *too* seriously, they're just poking
around in the dark (particularly about technical matters.) Just say
what you want to see yourself quoted as saying, don't worry if it
doesn't exactly answer the question. Reporters are used to that and
don't care as long as you're giving them stuff they can use in an
article. IT'S NOT A PERSONAL CHAT.

3. If they get rude or press about an issue you don't want to talk
about either smile and tell them the interview has ended or repeat
what you want them to walk away with, politely. Don't fight or argue
with them.

4. Don't be afraid to pause before answering a question and collecting
your thoughts, even it seems awkward, they understand you are thinking
and trying to give a good answer and know better than you do that what
you are about to say might be very important.

If you're the sort of person who can't separate the person from the
issue (eg. worry that you're offending a reporter personally by not
sticking to the question) you don't belong talking to the press. Same
advice if you anger easily. Speaking to the press is a professional
act, not a personal one. Refer them to someone else.

Above all, be courteous and try to tell the truth (or don't say
anything at all, or be absolutely sure you want to deal with the
possible consequences.)

        -Barry Shein, ||Encore||



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