At some time, every member of clergy or at least one officer at a churchwill receive a call from a journalist.
This could be about something positive happening within the church or (more likely) after a tragedy, an allegation or negative news story.
The tips below are aimed to help you through what can be a stressful situation.
- Call the diocesan Communications Office (01332 388671) – we are here to help and can offer advice or be the point of contact for the media to take the pressure off you.
- If the enquiry is about a negative story or allegation direct the journalist to the Communications Office. It is not always appropriate to comment on every media request.
- If a journalist calls you for a comment on a story, positive or negative, remember that you do not have to make a comment if you don't want to!
They may tell you that they must have a comment or that they are going to print in an hour or something similar to get you to comment straight away, but you are perfectly entitled to say 'no', or to say that you need some time to prepare a correct and accurate reponse.
If they persist, ask them to speak to the Communications Office at Derby Church House (01332 388671) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Remember that “the media” isn’t the enemy! Being interviewed can be an invaluable opportunity to share your message with the wider public.
- Avoid speaking “off the cuff”, be polite and offer to phone them back once you have thought about a comment.
- Use this time to prepare and make sure you have all the information you need.
- Only agree to talk about a subject you are confident about. If you can’t help, offer to get someone who can or forward them to the Communications Office.
- Remember that there is no such thing as “Off the record”. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t be happy reading on the front page of The Times.
- Use simple, positive, everyday language. Avoid church jargon!
- Deliver with enthusiasm and energy!
- Enjoy yourself and let the Communications Office know when you are being interviewed and when the item will be published or broadcast.
01332 388671 | 07540 120899