Answer the Telephone!

Increasingly I hear from reporters that companies or their Public Relations persons or agencies are either not responding at all to requests for comments or interviews, even regarding news releases that are issued by either entity. Further, often the reporter’s phone calls are simply not returned; this similarly occurs when there is so-called “good news.”

The protocol here is simple and ironclad: If you issue a news release, be prepared to discuss it with a reporter, either on or off the record or with a “no comment.” And, there is no excuse for a public relations function not to return a call from the media, none. If that’s occurring in your organization or with your outside firm, to loosely quote Lyndon Johnson, the “woodshed’s” in order.

Reporters understand that there are some matters on which a company cannot comment, but they want at least a “no comment” response. Moreover, if a news release is issued on which a comment can be made, they want that as well.

Consider this: If you’ve issued “good news” and it prompts a media call you’re more than likely to get more space or “ink,” or airtime on that piece. If it’s “bad news” you’ve issued, even more so do you want to take a reporter’s call: It gives you the opportunity to mitigate that negative news and to communicate your message to your key publics.

That’s what Media Relations is all about.

And, of course, Stern And Company would be happy to discuss this with you further. Drop us an email at steve @

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