Everyone loves the idea of a great piece of coverage in newspapers or magazines, especially if they have pitched the journalist themselves with their “big idea”. But things can go wrong and the coverage may leave you with, at best, a sinking feeling or, at worst, in a horrified panic. And “they quoted me out of context” just won’t solve the problem.
Here’s what you can do next….
- Give in to the panic – allow yourself a few moments to panic, rant, sob…whatever you choose.
- Then grab yourself a strong coffee, deep breath, and read the article through again starting with the headline. Often the headline is far more shocking than the article.
- Then go through it all slowly, line by line, and list any errors of fact. Ignore misspelt names, erroneous titles and tiny mistakes. Look for substantive errors or omissions that change the story, change a line of argument, misrepresent something or someone.
- Contact the journalist to explain what the errors are, why they need to be changed and ask how this can happen. Approach this conversation professionally. Journalists want to get their facts right and you will stand a better chance of getting a change if you are approachable, but business-like. Online stories can be changed quickly. For print, think about a letter for publication or perhaps a follow up interview with a fresh angle.
- Be a publisher – write a response to the article for your website. Focus on the information you want people to know. Add photos and video if you have it. Share it with your customers, your staff and your suppliers. Send it to the trade press, local media or other relevant outlets.
- Get social –your social media channels give you direct access to your customers and audiences. You can say how you feel about the piece, but don’t rant - reassure your audience. Don’t get bogged down in details – if you need to break an issue down, put a simple bullet point guide on your website and tweet out the link.
- Maybe there were lessons to be learned. Take some time to consider if that’s the case. Then try again. Approach another publication. If you have a story to tell, another journalist will be interested.