A word after a word after a word is power

Margaret Atwood

Jul 20, 2016

Love your enemy

Even When They're a Journalist

There's a natural tendency among business people to regard journalists as the enemy.
There is a suspicion that the media is peopled with left wing, cynical mischief makers who are out to trap the wealth creator into an ill-judged quote or admission that will damage their business.
This is an understandable view, but to allow it to colour your relations with the media is likely to mean lost opportunities and maybe even reputational damage. It's bad PR.
It's true that the journalist may well be unsympathetic to business in general, not understand the process of wealth creation and be distrustful of 'fat cats'.
Frankly, they might even hate you.
But you must regard the journalist as your friend.
There are two main reasons for this. The first is that, if you do, you are far less likely to come across – particularly in any broadcast interview – as defensive and/or aggressive, prickly or shifty. It's unfair, but still true, that, if you react badly to the journalist, the sympathy of the audience or readership is likely to be on their side and not yours.
This, of course, is a lot easier said than done. Pretending to like someone is hard, particularly when they're asking you awkward questions.
However, it gets easier if you bear in mind the second reason, which is: they didn't pluck the difficult questions which they put to you from nowhere. They are questions which the public (or whatever the relevant audience) will be asking, if not now, then at some point in the future, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to provide answers and put your case. It may not come again.
Mentally, if not in fact, preface your answer with the words: "I'm so glad you asked that question.''
But always remember, you need to have the answer ready.