There are several times when you’re working with a reporter and the story goes completely as planned. Then there are other times when the story takes a turn for the worst and there’s no way for you to control it. While we all know we can’t control what the reporter will write, there are ways to handle yourself when a story goes in the wrong direction to make sure you personally don’t get burned.
Give the reporter a call. When you get an inkling of what the story is actually going to be about, speak on the phone instead of just email. This way you can get more feelers about the story and ask more questions.
Be completely honest with the reporter. Let them know that your client doesn’t want to be associated with X, Y, Z. Letting them know will at least put up a red flag and there could be a chance that your client won’t be included.
Suggest new ways for your client to be included. If they are a part of the story, make a suggestion that instead of your client being portrayed in X light, they could be portrayed as Y instead.
Take it as it is. There’s only so far you can go in pestering the reporter. Don’t harm your relationship by giving attitude or being overbearing.
Give your client the heads up. Cover your butt. Let them know what the story ended up being about and that they might be included. Let them know what suggestions you’ve made and the steps you’ve taken.
How have you handled yourself when an article doesn’t go as planned?