effective. If you cannot provide the reporter with
an answer, say so and offer to find it. If you
cannot discuss a matter because of sensitivities
within your organization, do not discuss it.
If you must refer a reporter to another office or
command, provide the telephone number and any
additional data that might be helpful. There are
few things more frustrating than wading through
the DoD bureaucracy.
Provide background briefings and printed data.
Many Navy projects and programs are com-
plicated and explaining them to a novice in
simple terms is almost impossible. Background
briefings conducted by subject matter experts
(with public affairs personnel monitoring the
briefings) will be appreciated by a struggling
Say thank you if a reporter treats you and the
subject fairly. Public affairs people frequently
forget this common courtesy.
Treat reporters as you would like to be treated.
They are under pressure to get a job done quickly
and accuratelya situation the senior JO can
MEDIA RELATIONS DOS AND DONTS
Learning Objective: Identify the dos and donts of
How should you, the senior journalist, deal with
members of the media? As in any area of human
relations, there is no simple formula. News people, like
public affairs personnel, vary in height, weight,
intelligence, tact, level of knowledge and motivation.
Common traits might include these: they have a job to
do, they want to do it and they know how to do it.
Remembering a few simple dos and donts will
help guide you down the path of successful media
relations and set an example for your junior public
affairs staff members.
Be available at all hours.
Tell the truth.
Tell reporters up front if you cannot comment on
a particular subject or if the answer is classified
Get the facts, get them right and get them out.
Be aware of the mediums time or space limita-
tions, deadlines or other special requirements.
Know the audience of each medium.
Know the people who work in the media.
Beg for coverage.
Ask a repoter to kill a story.
Be partial in dealing with media representatives
for any reason.
Release information to other newsmen which has
been given to you by a newsman.
Be a publicity hound.
Ask news people to slant their copy, withhold
information or do favors.