Tips for dealing with the media

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.


On a serious note, some legislators are welcoming bloggers and are doing a good job reaching out.  Some still haven’t caught the vision.

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