Top Five Myths Lawyers Have About Reporters — Part 1 of 2

1. Journalists Only Want to Work with Lawyers with Media Experience

The number one concern a reporter has when seeking comment is the type of source and his or her experience area—not how many times that source has been quoted in the press. Sometimes it can be quite a struggle just to find an expert in a particular area of law or subject, so no reporter will turn you down if you know what you’re talking about. No matter how little media exposure you’ve had, a well-thought-out, informative quote or detailed advice is invaluable to reporters and can really enhance their articles.

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2. Be Cautious of Everything You Say During an Interview

An interview with a reporter should be a pretty loose conversation—not a stressful moment for a commenting lawyer. The reporter wants to make you and your law firm look good in the article so he or she looks good. If you were someone who the media is out to scrutinize like President Obama or a popular celebrity who frequently gets chased by TMZ, you might want to be on guard about some things you say. In this case, though, serving as a legal expert for comment should be a safe and comfortable experience.

Don’t bury your personality and lighter side during an interview. This can also be a detriment to you in getting additional quote opportunities with the same reporter. No journalist enjoys talking to a dry and serious lawyer. So drop the law books and engage the reporter with a conversational style and easy-to-understand explanations for ideas you’re trying to convey. For a reporter, nothing is more confusing or annoying than trying to decrypt an attorney’s overuse of legal speak. It will just dilute your brilliant ideas about law and leave them vulnerable to misunderstanding.

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