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Can I Quote You on That?

A practical handbook for anyone who deals with the media

By William Essex

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About the Author

William Essex

William Essex is a freelance journalist, writer and occasional broadcaster who also trains executives to deal with the media. He has experience on both sides of the camera, microphone, notepad and digital recording device, and likes to believe that dealing with the media successfully need not be a stressful experience. You just need to know what they want and how to provide it in a way that also ... Read more on William Essex

Contents Listing

Emergency Reference
- Print
- Television
- Radio
- Returning calls
- After the interview
- And finally ... what happens in a successful interview?

1. Preparing For The Media
- How it's done, and how it's done well
- How it's done badly by invitation
- "Journalists never forgive and never forget"
- What do we know so far?
- You're very interesting
- Read yourself in
- Now you've hit the middle-sized time, look after the juniors
- In-house and external PR agencies
- Paying for PR
- Freebies, jollies, lunches, cuddly toys and contact - numbers
- We are not talking about advertising here
- And finally ... the media-friendly enterprise

2. What Journalists Want And Why They Want It
- A brief word about the word "story"
- The basics 1: who's the audience?
- The basics 2: what's the news?
- The basics 3: where's the skill in this?
- Beyond the basics: journalists want to fill empty space
- Journalists want to fill empty space in time for their deadline
- Journalists want to fill empty space in a way that impresses their editor and persuades their audience to come back for more
- What do you have, that might interest a journalist?
- What can you provide, that the journalist can't get without you?
- Journalists want it now
- Journalists want relationships with reliable contacts
- And finally ... the media-friendly contact that all journalists want

3. Getting Your Message Straight
- Getting the endorsement of the title
- Brainstorming your message
- Your story v. their story
- Self-belief is a message
- Beyond brainstorming
- Falling back into the old trap
- Finding the elusive message
- Handling the off-message interview
- And finally ...what makes a good message?

4. Handling The Interview
- All media contact starts when it starts
- Questions you should ask
- Media policies are only as good as the people who ignore them
- Going off the record
- Recording devices
- Attitude and delivery
- Control and direction
- Leading answers and simple cues
- Dirty tricks and devious cunning
- Hostile questions and challenging interviews
- Silence
- Why?
- The totally idiotic follow-up question
- The stunningly ignorant question
- Horizontal ignorance
- The technology breaks down
- Telephone calls
- The role of PR in an interview
- Interviews in person
- One-to-one briefings over coffee and an agenda
- Lunch
- Press conferences
- Round-table discussions, wine-tastings and other gimmickry
- Dealing with members of the public
- And finally ... all media contact ends when it ends

5. Television And Radio
- Preparing for a broadcast interview
- Nerves
- Staying in position
- Live, as-live and recorded interviews
- Hostility
- Simplicity
- Your objectives in a broadcast interview
- Television comes to the office
- You go to the TV studio
- You're invited to a remote studio
- Radio comes to the office
- You go to the radio studio
- Phone-ins and being interviewed over the phone
- Drying
- And finally ... post-microphone depression

6. What Happens Next And What More Can You Do?
- What happens to your interview?
- How does a journalist's memory work?
- How to deliver the follow-up
- So what about pictures?
- From one interview to the next
- When is a good time to call a journalist?
- And finally ... when is a good time to be sitting by the phone?

7. Crisis Management
- The first three rules of crisis management
- What if the media don't know yet?
- Information overload good, speculation bad
- The trust issue
- Internal opposition
- Internal communications
- Relationship management
- The counter-story
- Your competitor's crisis
- How to leak
- Blame and responsibility
- Dealing with negative spin
- PR and media crises
- Blogs
- Letters to the editor
- When a crisis goes bad
- How to say "No Comment"
- The non-answer
- The non-denial denial
- How to stop talking
- The "F*ck Strategy"
- Telling lies
- Case studies
- And finally ... what if it's only a small crisis?

8. Your Legal Rights And What To Do With Them
- Two FAQs on being misquoted
- Public interest, fair comment
- Malice and misconduct
- How to complain
- Your legal rights and theirs
- The Press Complaints Commission (PCC)'s code of practice
- Ofcom's code of practice
- More on recording devices
- Jigsaw identification
- What is an injunction?
- And finally ... useful websites
Emergency Reference
- Print
- Television
- Radio
- Returning calls
- After the interview
- And finally ... what happens in a successful interview?

1. Preparing For The Media
- How it's done, and how it's done well
- How it's done badly by invitation
- "Journalists never forgive and never forget"
- What do we know so far?
- You're very interesting
- Read yourself in
- Now you've hit the middle-siz ...

Jacket Text

Media contact is a fact of business life. And yet this is the only book on the market that focuses exclusively on getting the best out of contact with journalists. It's written by a journalist, about journalists, and based on a long-established and successful media-training course. Circulating copies of this book around key executives would be a far cheaper and more cost-effective alternative to hiring media-trainers. Being able to handle the media effectively can be a significant career advantage. Doing it badly can be damaging both to the career and to the company.

This book is a practical guide to handling media contact. It starts at first contact with a journalist and goes right through to discussing whether, and if so how, to follow up an interview. The book looks at print, radio, television and online journalism. There's a chapter on crisis management and one on interviewees' legal rights. A key feature of the book is that it focuses on what journalists want, why they want it, and how to give it to them in a way that achieves favourable media coverage.

Can I quote you on that? describes techniques for handling a variety of interviews successfully, from the visit to your office by a trade journalist, through expected and unexpected telephone interviews, via calls from newspapers and magazines, radio interviews, phone-ins and discussion programmes, to the range of television experiences, including the camera crew at the office, the studio-based interview and the remote studio. There's a chapter on effective interview preparation and an emergency page for reference if the interview is imminent. This book is designed to convey an understanding of how journalists work and how to work with them for mutual benefit.

There are answers to a range of frequently asked questions, from "How can I avoid being misquoted?" right through to "What if they don't ask the questions I want to answer?" The book discusses the subtle techniques that can be used to steer an interview in a favourable direction, and suggests ways of handling not only difficult questions, but also stupid and ignorant questions. There is also advice on how to go about forming mutually beneficial long-term relationships with key journalists.

This is a practical guide that delivers an understanding of how journalists think and why they think that way. This book is a media-training course in its own right.

Professional Reviews

"After digesting the lessons that Essex offers from his own considerable experience, encounters with journalists - even mean ones - will be less stressful." - Richard Schwartz, Executive director, Information Partners and Consulting editor, The TRADE

"This book is a brilliant tour de force covering all the basics in a simple, easy to understand fashion. This comprehensive guide is a 'must read' for anyone contemplating dealing with the media." - Henry L Gewanter, Managing Director, Positive Profile Limited

"If you have regular contact with the media - this must be a 'top of the list' guidebook. Don't talk to the media unless you've read it!" - Malcolm Corrigan, Marketing Consultant

"The REAL guide to media relations we've all been waiting for, William Essex's book is packed full of realistic and valuable information. No platitudes but plenty of practical grit. Brilliant." - Andrew Webb, Managing Director, Omega Derivatives

"Distilling 20 years experience as a journalist and commentator, William Essex's insightful guide to media relations is not only consistently witty and wise, but also eminently readable. Detailed, clear and concise, this is an indispensable resource." - Tim Steele, Head of PR & media relations, ABN AMRO Mellon Global Securities Services

"After digesting the lessons that Essex offers from his own considerable experience, encounters with journalists - even mean ones - will be less stressful." - Richard Schwartz, Executive director, Information Partners and Consulting editor, The TRADE

"This book is a brilliant tour de force covering all the basics in a simple, easy to understand fashion. This comprehensive guide is a 'must read' for anyone contemplating dealing with the media." - Henry L Gewanter, Managing Director, Positive Profile Limited

"If you have regular contact with the media - this must be a 'top of the list' guidebook. Don't talk to the media unless you've read it!" - Malcolm Corrigan, Marketing Consultant

"The REAL guide to media relations we've all been waiting for, William Essex's book is packed full of realistic and valuable information. No platitudes but plenty of practical grit. Brilliant." - Andrew Webb, Managing Director, Omega Derivatives

"Distilling 20 years experience as a journalist and commentator, William Essex's insightful guide to media relations is not only consistently witty and wise, but also eminently readable. Detailed, clear and concise, this is an indispensable resource." - Tim Steele, Head of PR & media relations, ABN AMRO Mellon Global Securities Services


Media Coverage

Managementfirst.com

Crisis management in the media age: winning the race to disclosure- William EssexManagement Today, 31st January 2007

Read more

Profile-extra.co.uk

Fit The Media Into Your Marketing MixWilliam Essex, First published in Better Business Focus Magazine1st December 2006

A brief not fit for a journalistWilliam Essex, Profile ...

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