Monday, July 12, 2004

When good people give bad advice

PR Machine points an article from the League of American Communications Professionals, offering helpful PR tips. Technoflak enjoyed it until she reached this part:

#2) COMMENT OFF THE RECORD. Perhaps the fastest way to a reporter's heart is to give them the sorts of information that would never be published in a press release. Speaking off the record is an extraordinary art, so we advise caution on this final recommendation. First, be sure to always define with a reporter that you're speaking off the record and that you both agree on what that means, namely that you never told him what you told him and that it can't be considered anything more than self-developed speculation with no foundation in demonstrable fact. Each reporter has a different level of trustworthiness, so be sure to give each press contact just a little bit of info at the beginning of the relationship in order to see what they do with it. As you grow in trust, you can begin to speak about competitors and their strategies; the impact of any given worldly event on your organization; and even the real reasons why your company takes the steps it does.

Friends, there can be no honest discussion in our country unless we learn to speak openly. The pernicious practice of anonymous sources has done our country incalculable damage. Let us be done with it.

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