When I read a correction in this morning’s paper, it reminded me to remind you that whenever a print reporter interviews you for a story, never ask if it’s OK to read the story before it’s printed because you’re afraid they’ll screw it up.
That’s not the way the game is played, and it will label you as clueless.
How, then, can you ensure that the reporter will report the facts accurately?
There’s no way to be 100 percent certain. But as I said in my “Special Report #1—Damage Control: How to Keep the Media from Making a Mess of Your Story,” you can increase your odds by asking for a fact-check. That means that after the story is written, the reporter calls you and recites the facts of the story.
Let’s say the story states that your company has 135 employees. You can keep the reporter from making an error by pointing out that the correct figure is 152.
Never hesitate to ask for a fact-check. Some reporters, particularly new ones, won’t know what this is. If they look puzzled, explain it this way:
“A fact-check is a way for both of us to you to make sure the facts are accurate. It also will keep you from having to run a correction if something is wrong.”
You’ll get their attention. I guarantee it. That’s because reporters hate having to write corrections and call attention to the fact that they goofed.