A couple of year’s ago in a House majority caucus meeting – an open meeting, btw – a couple of young women handed out a few tips and hints on how legislators should deal with the media. As you might imagine, it contains these helpful hints:
*Nothing is ever “off the record“. Refrain from saying anything to the press you would not like to see on television or in print.
*Don’t argue. In fact, they reminded legislators of the old saying “Never argue with someone who buys paper by the truckload and ink by the barrel”
*Refrain from making jokes
*Make yourself available to the press
*Don’t use jargon
I added another one somewhat tongue-in-cheek: don’t pass out media relations tips with media in the room. One of my fellow bloggers marked up the handout and came up with the following:
*There is no such thing as “off the record“. Refrain from saying things to a blogger you don’t want to see online.
*Be as vitriolic as possible. Remember, bloggers don’t need to buy paper or ink and argumentative legislators make for good headlines.
*Use lots of jargon like LOL, J/K, ROFLOL, BTW, etc
*Joke with the bloggers. Especially use sarcasm, since tone of voice and intent is easily conveyed via the Internet.
*Don’t worry about your quotes or mis-quotes taking a long time to hit the blogosphere – bloggers don’t use editors and don’t have artificial deadlines. They can have something up in a matter of minutes.
*Always talk to bloggers first – they are the REAL news source.
*Remember, BLOGGERS RULE!
On a serious note, some legislators are welcoming bloggers and are doing a good job reaching out. Some still haven’t caught the vision.