Don’t Do This!

ED000049We’ve all been tempted to do it, but this Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial is an important reminder to advocacy communications folks everywhere not to attack a paper or one of its reporters when you disagree.

Yes, newspapers get the story wrong sometimes – though I have no idea who’s right here. And as someone who’s set the record straight more than once, I don’t agree with the LVRJ that doing so is a sure indication of wrongness. But a retraction demand followed by a public attack on the paper will rarely prove productive in the long run. And there are much more productive alternatives:

  1. Most reporters are doing their best, and in my experience, a helpful email correcting an error or requesting a call or meeting to share some context around an issue will be well-received;
  2. When #1 doesn’t apply, the opinion pages provide ample opportunity to offer a different perspective or, yes, set the record straight – in fact, child advocates often do just that with politicians

As advocates, we can’t sit on the sidelines as news outlets tell (or ignore) stories that matter to children. We need to be in the game, helping them get the story and get it right. But like any other game, it’s smart to play by the rules.