How To Start & Grow Your Business

When a Reporter Writes a Negative Story about You

From the Editor's Desk
Jan 20th, 2015
  • Estimated reading time: 2 min read
  • Hummy's
    Highlights

    1Blacklisting reporters is not good strategy. 2Provide concise statements rather than "no comment." 3Social media allows you to clarify your company message.
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Public Relations

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What should you do if a reporter writes a negative article about your company? Should you just freeze him or her out?

Brad Philips, from PR Daily, says you should take a deep breath. You don’t want to burn your bridges with the press. In fact, you want to make friends if possible. So before doing something drastic, Philips recommends you consider these alternatives:

  1. Get feedback from a neutral party to get an objective point of view. Perhaps the message you were hoping for did get through and the story was more positive than you thought. It helps to get a second opinion from someone who can be objective.
  2. Communicate with the reporter. In a polite way, make your case directly to the reporter. If the reporter has made a factual error, request a correction. Usually reporters are willing to at least listen to your point of view.
  3. Responding in writing is a good tactic. Consider writing a letter to the editor. Philips cautions you to only explain your point of view, not the reporters.
  4. Speak directly to the editor. If this journalist has received numerous complaints, then the editor may investigate. Of course, this decision should not be taken lightly, because your complaining to the reporter’s boss could invite further unfavorable coverage by that reporter in the future.
  5. Respond with brief statements.
    Even if you know the publication is biased against your business and you don’t want to respond to an inquiry, sending a concise paragraph or two looks better for your brand than “no comment” or “we attempted to contact xyz corporation but they did not return our calls.”
  6. Cut off access.
    “The only time I recommend cutting off access is when you won’t gain anything from speaking to the reporter. Those cases may exist, but they’re rare. Good media management means finding a way to work with journalists—not avoiding them,” Philips says.

    In summary: don’t cut off a journalist unless there is no other alternative.

  7. Use Social Media.
    Using social media to reach your audience helps you control your message in the midst of a frosty relationship with a news outlet.

To view the original article in its entirety, please visit PR Daily.

About the Author

From the Editor's Desk

This article was written by a bizHUMM Staff Writer. We aim to provide practical tips that help solve your burning small business questions. If you have any suggestions or ideas for articles, please email them to: editor@bizhumm.com