There are few things in life I enjoy more than cheering on one of my favorite teams or athletes.
Whether it be watching a game on television with friends or sitting in my seats at the game wearing my Cubbie blue or the purple of my alma mater – life is good when we all get to cheer.
There is but one place I was taught early on in my days as a journalism student that you cannot cheer, no matter how much you love the “home team” or hate the “rival” – the press box. Cheering is not allowed. You will be tossed out on your ear. The world of the working press is supposed to be a place of neutrality – it’s journalism 101.
But it has become very clear that the mainstream, working press has taken sides in this country. All “sides” are as guilty as the other. A perfect example came just recently, when the new Gross National Product quarterly report was released. It showed a 4.1 percent growth in our nation’s economy. When the breaking news was released, the media cheered and booed just like fans – not like journalists. I have two televisions in my office. One set of network anchors was literally frowning and shaking their heads “no” when delivering the news. On the other screen was another set of anchors smiling and doing virtual high fives.
I am left shaking my head by the number of “journalists” who claim to be unbiased in their reporting, then voice without hesitation on Twitter their disdain – even hatred – for the people they are covering. It would be like a college football writer tweeting he “hates Alabama,” then somehow turning on a switch and covering the football team in an unbiased manner. It just doesn’t happen anymore.
So, it is no wonder that client after client asks, “how do we deal with a reporter who is biased?” Great question. The days of getting a “fair” shake are not completely gone, but agenda-driven reporting is a real thing. But “all is not lost” we tell clients.The media landscape forces organizations to truly button up their story – their key messages. Never before has it been more important to train your spokespeople to stick to your story no matter where the reporter may want to take them. Click To Tweet
The media landscape forces organizations to truly button up their story – their key messages. Never before has it been more important to train your spokespeople to stick to your story no matter where the reporter may want to take them. It’s your story to own, so own it.
Shortly after the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, CNN was camped outside University Medical Center. The reporter’s questions were hell-bent on driving a narrative of chaos in the emergency department. The doctor being interviewed would not go there – he spoke eloquently of the hospital’s readiness for such an event, he commended the staff for their work, he praised the community for its role in supporting the victims. At the end of the day, the spokesman stuck to his message – played his own game – and when all was said and done, the reporter was forced essentially to convert to telling a story of hospital readiness.
No matter what story the media may have in their heads – ultimately our clients still have the chance to get their story out there – even if the hill is a bit steeper.
Let’s paint our faces in our clients’ colors, put on our clients’ jerseys, cheer until we have no voices left – and take the time out for them to be truly ready for media interviews … no matter what they may think of the media.
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