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What Lawyers As Sources Can Do For The Press

1.    A source gives short,
concise quotes; responds quickly to all media requests; and does not wait until
one “suits” them. 

2.    Although they may not
have all the answers, a source will take the initiative and time and look into
their network to help the reporter out.

3.    A source is someone
who is very familiar with the reporter's beat and regularly sends story ideas
and developments in that area.

It is important to remember that
most reporters cover several different areas and constantly require help in
understanding the intricacies and complexities of different stories.  Sources are their bloodlines when under
tight deadlines.

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2 Responses to "What Lawyers As Sources Can Do For The Press"

  1. Lynda Edwards says:

    This is sound advice. As a journalist, I can confirm that each reporter is now likely to cover several beats. The recession and layoffs mean fewer reporters covering more topics and parachuting into an issue that becomes a hot due to breaking news. Reporters always appreciate a source who is aware of what stories Internet surfers, readers and TV viewers are obsessing over on any given day. For example, when the underwear bomber story broke, you can bet that across the nation, at least one reporter in each newsroom was calling local lawyers with an expertise in aviation or privacy to get comments about what future airport searches will entail. A lawyer who is up to speed on the hot stories of the day is going to be on speed dial with reporters.

  2. I find it helps to think of reporters much as you would potential clients and referral sources. The initial response to a reporter approaching you on any subject is to jump in and try to act like an expert in order to get the media attention. However, if you aren’t actually as knowledgeable on the subject as the reporters are looking for, then they won’t use the information you give them and are also unlikely to approach you later. Rather, it’s much better to say, “I’m sorry, but that’s not my area of expertise. I focus on….” and then give them the contact information of someone more knowledgeable in that area. This does two things for you. One, the reporter will remember you as an expert, even if it wasn’t in the field they originally were approaching you about, and are likely to approach you again for future stories. Two, the other professionals will remember you sending the reporter your way and are likely to return the favor should someone approach them about about an area that you are more knowledgeable about.

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