Avoiding The Ambush

It’s almost May. That means, all over the country, we’ll see local TV news stories where businesspeople, politicians and others are the targets of “gotcha” interviews on the late news.

One attracted a lot of buzz the other night in Detroit. The incomparable Steve Wilson of WXYZ-TV had to approach a businessman near a private airport hangar just to try to get some questions answered. You can watch it online.

And, yes, he HAD to. Odds are excellent that the subject of the story ignored requests for interviews and information. If there’s one thing I’ve tried to teach clients in media training, it’s that you can avoid these confrontations if you:

*Answer your phone and return reporter calls
*Answer questions when they are asked
*Build relationships with the media

Another piece of free advice I’ll pass along – if you don’t want a reporter in your face asking you about why you paid for the mayor and his family’s trip to a Ritz-Carlton resort, then it can be easily avoided. Just don’t do it in the first place.