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Honesty is the Best Policy -- Especially When It Comes to Dealing with the Press

As a child growing up in Chicago, my friends and Iwould often yell at each other, ... ... if we thought someone was ... on our Catholic school ... In ... w

As a child growing up in Chicago, my friends and I
would often yell at each other, "Cheaters never
prosper!" if we thought someone was playing
unfairly on our Catholic school playground. In the
business world over the years, I've learned that
there's a lot of truth in that statement. Cheaters
don't always succeed in business, and while we're
on the subject, liars are always discovered.

We've seen these lessons played out a lot lately.
The newspapers have been flooded with commentary
about a former New York Times reporter and the
poor conduct he displayed by purposely filing
inaccurate stories. While his actions have cast a
very negative light on the journalism community as
a whole, causing many business owners to wonder if
they've been treated fairly by the media in the
past, it's important to note that unscrupulous
reporters represent just a few "bad apples" in a
very large barrel. Most journalists possess great
integrity. It's their job to search for the truth
so if you're a small-business owner ready to tell
your company story, honesty is still the best
policy - especially when it comes to dealing with
the press.

So why do people lie to the press in the first
place? You'd think that the most obvious answer
would be because they have something to hide. In
actuality many times lies are told inadvertently.
Here are common examples and the ways in which to
avoid these mistakes before it destroys your
reputation:

Not knowing what to say when a reporter phones.
Two examples come to mind. First it's always tough
being a business owner because sometimes crises
arise. When they do surface, it's difficult to
know what to say to anyone, let alone a reporter.
Second, it can be equally difficult to conduct
interviews with the press if you're either a new
business owner or you've only had limited exposure
to media interviews. In either case, it's simply
unnecessary to lie, because if you know yourself
and your business inside out, then you will have
plenty to say. When in doubt about a question, ask
the reporter to clarify then give the straightest
answer possible, and only elaborate if you feel
comfortable doing so.

Perceiving your company story to be boring. Never
embellish your company story. Remember that in
addition to the basic facts about your company,
it's the little tidbits that seem unimportant that
can actually peak a reporter's interest.

Not knowing how to respond to the reporter's
questions. There's no shame in not knowing an
answer. The reporter will respect your honesty,
and by doing so, your story placement can still be
secured - as long as you make it a top priority to
find the answers to the questions and deliver them
to the reporter immediately.

Lack of preparation before the interview. Do a
little research on the reporter prior to the
interview by reading past articles. Then try to
anticipate the types of questions that reporter
might ask, and prepare truthful answers for them.
It's fine to ask the reporter what the story topic
will be before doing the interview. That
information will also give you some additional
clues about the story's tone.
If you don't believe me, then take advice from
veteran CBS News anchor, Dan Rather. He says when
doubt as to how you should answer a reporter's
questions, there is four acceptable answers:

1. I know that answer, and I will give it to you

2. I don't know the answer, but I will try to find
it and give it to you

3. I know the answer, but I'm not going to tell
you

4. I know the answer, but I'll have to kill you if
I tell you.

The last one, of course, is a joke, but you get
the idea. Next month's topic will cover what you
should say once the media calls. Until then follow
playground rules and never lie to the media -
period. There is no profit in doing so, and you'll
only end up hurting yourself and your company's
credibility. Always tell the truthArticle Submission, even if the
truth turns out not to be all that interesting.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Carolyn Davenport-Moncel is president and founder
of Mondave Communications, a global marketing and
communications firm based in Chicago and Paris,
and a subsidiary of MotionTemps, LLC. Contact her
at carolyn@motiontemps.com or by phone in the
United States at 877.815.0167 or 011.331.4997.9059
in France.



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