This is probably the best what-would-i-say Facebook status I could have ever hoped for from my personal account. I’m going to start saying this in the newsroom.
A couple months back I helped brainstorm with NPR’s On The Media for their Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook, a basic guide on how to maintain a healthy skepticism when news orgs are covering a breaking news event. There’s been no shortage of major mistakes made by the media in recent years - Gabby Giffords, the Boston Bombing, Newtown, just to name a few - and there’s a lot we can do as news consumers to scrutinize what’s been reported.
This got me thinking about the tropes commonly used by journalists during breaking news and what they really mean. Last month I started documenting the terminology often used during a breaking news broadcast, and now I’ve made a matrix out of it. Each phrase is placed on the matrix based on how credible a report is, and how likely it is that a reporter feels secure if they actually say it on air. For example, if you say “Other networks are reporting,” it suggests you don’t necessarily know any facts yet, and that you’re deflecting blame from yourself to those other networks if it turns out to be wrong. Meanwhile, if you say “Multiple independent sources have confirmed…” it expresses more certitude, both in terms of the facts and your professional security if you go public with it - especially when you name those sources and explain how they came upon that information.
Anyway, this is my second draft of the matrix, and I’d love to get your thoughts on it. Thanks! - @acarvin
We’ve all heard the tropes, but this just in from NPR: Here’s a fantastic piece of media literacy about the differences between “reportedly” and “confirmed” — and what it all means. Worth a share among media types and the population at large.
Last week, Julia Sahin wrote a post for the Muck Rack blog titled “8 things I wish journalists knew about PR.” The post went viral garnering nearly 200 social media shares and sparking conversation between journalists and PR pros.
This week, social media editor and journalist Andy Paras responds with “Why journalists don’t return your emails.”
Click over to the Muck Rack blog to read both posts.
Had the pleasure of working with Andy Paras during my internship at the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C. He hits the nail on the head when he writes:
If you’re a PR professional waiting on me to return your unsolicited email you’re probably going to be waiting a while.
It’s nothing personal–and that’s the problem. Most of the time I’m one of many journalists on your list of CCs and BCCs so I know you’re really not writing to me as much as dangling a baited hook. Over the course of the day there are so many hooks.
I pride myself on responding to readers and members of the community, but if you’re just repeatedly emailing me–even directly–to ask me to use your client as a source for stories we’re not writing, that’s not a “symbiotic relationship.” That’s spam. And honestly, I’m afraid that if I do respond you’ll just put me on more lists to receive more emails.