From time to time every member of clergy will receive a call from a journalist. This could be about something positive happening within the church or more often 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 Communications Office – we 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.
- 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.