1. “Never seen anything like this.”
2. “When can we expect this to go up?”
3. “I know this isn’t your area, but…”
They’re good ones, Mickie, but that’s just a start. I’m a former journalist, and I also hated hearing these five other phrases when people pitched me or after I interviewed them:
4. “Can you send me 10 copies of the article as soon as it’s printed?”
No, I can’t. I’m not a clerk. I’m a reporter. And I’m too busy. If you want copies, buy them yourself by calling our circulation department. (See “What to Do When You Can’t Get Reprint Rights.”)
5. “Can you let me know as soon as the article is printed?
Nope, can’t do that either, for the reasons mentioned above. Either hire someone to pay attention to the paper, or do it yourself.
6. “If I give you a good tip and you write the story, can you promise me you’ll give it good play?”
No. Reporters don’t decide where stories appear in newspapers or magazines. That’s an editor’s job.
7. “Can you please not use my name?”
Why didn’t you tell me that 20 minutes ago when we started the interview? Technically, since you were talking to me on the record, I have every right to use your name.
But you’re such a pain in the neck, and you’ll probably raise such a stink after the story is printed along with your name, that I’d rather just not use your comments. Instead, I’ll simply make a mental note never to talk to you again. In other words, I’m blacklisting you.
Now that you know what not to say, here are magic phrases the media LOVE hearing.
What phrases can you add to this? Do you keep any magic phrases in your pocket and use them with success?
Are you a journalist or blogger who hates other phrases that Mickie and I haven’t mentioned?