Collector – August 2019 - 10

BESTPRACTICES

On the Record
Managing media interviews can be tricky, but a little advance preparation
makes all the difference.
By Kim Coghill

B

iased and inaccurate reporting
from journalists who fail to ask
the appropriate questions are
among the reasons trust in media has
fallen over the years. But it's not as bad
as you might think.
In fact, according to a Gallup Poll
released last year, 45% of Americans report
having a "great deal or fair amount of trust
in the mass media to report the news fully,
accurately and fairly." Here's the interesting
part-in 2016, the same poll found that
only 32% of respondents trusted the media's
reporting. Media trust is now the highest
it has been since 2009 but remains below
what it was in the late 1990s and early
2000s, Gallup reported.
With that in mind, media relations
professionals and the accounts receivable
management companies they serve face
important challenges as they seek to
shape perception and understanding of
the industry. Not only is it important for
consumers to recognize the ARM industry's
measurable benefits, but it's equally
important-or possibly more important-
for policymakers to clearly comprehend the
business of recovering unpaid debt.
ACA International's media relations
professionals and their counterparts
working at member companies spend a
fair amount of energy pitching positive
and educational information to media
across the nation. Aside from generating
news coverage, the underlying goal is to
build relationships and educate "the Fourth
Estate," aka the press.
Anyone with media relations experience
can attest to the difficulty of this exercise,
particularly when dealing with busy
journalists who juggle short deadlines,
aggressive sources and the incredibly fierce
competition of today's news media.

10

WHEN A NEWS REPORTER CALLS
When a reporter calls, answer the phone and
find out what they want. Even if the reporter is
writing an unfavorable article, it's beneficial to
have advance knowledge about forthcoming
news so you can prepare, if necessary. Not to
mention, if you don't answer the phone, you
might miss an important communication
from a reporter who is working on a tight
deadline and has 30 minutes to add your
quote. Yes, it seems unfair that a reporter
would wait until the last minute to contact a
source, but it happens.
Unless you have prepared talking points
and a media relations professional on staff to
field the call, ask the reporter for potential
on-the-record questions, the angle of the
article and the names of other sources before
agreeing to talk. It's OK to tell a reporter, "I'll
get back to you."
Before moving forward with the interview,
Huntley McNabb, chief marketing officer
at Professional Credit in Vancouver,
Washington, recommends spending time
reviewing the media outlet and the reporter's
latest articles.
"Research the reporter's work and find
what points they've focused on in previous
stories," McNabb said. "Many reporters
write about the same topics and take similar
angles, so you can get an idea of what
types of questions they are going to ask by
studying their past articles."
If the reporter appears to accurately
cover the news, the next step would
be to determine whether responding
to the request is in the best interest of
the company or its leadership. Because
business executives are not viewed
as public figures like politicians or
government officials, declining an
interview will not negatively impact a
collection agency executive.

For companies that view the interview
request as an opportunity to promote
the industry or their company, McNabb
recommends developing talking points
combined with solid, concise answers to
what you consider will not only be the
most likely questions but also the most
complicated or pointed questions. And the
key, he said, is to practice, practice, practice.

HANDLING THE INTERVIEW
Establishing boundaries or "rules" for
a media interview is crucial to limiting
mistakes, including potential misquotes.
As a rule of thumb, avoid making
statements in front of a reporter or near a
microphone that you wouldn't want printed
on the front page of a newspaper. "Hot
mics" (or live mics) are tricky. That is, you
might not realize a microphone is live and
it can pick up off-the-cuff comments made
in jest.
Regardless of whether you are dealing
with a television, radio, print or electronic
media reporter, The Associated Press
recommends spending a few minutes
defining terms such as "off the record" and
"on background."
While the AP defines "on background" as
information suitable for publication under

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector – August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector – August 2019

President’s Page
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
How a background in making people laugh has helped Roger Weiss, ACA’s new president, educate and engage an industry.
No Good Option
“You’ve got to be a compliance cheerleader for the organization, and that takes a lot of energy.”
Protecting Health Care Data
Calendar
Honor Roll
Education Spotlight
ACA SearchPoint
Ad Index
Membership
Last Word
Collector – August 2019 - Cover1
Collector – August 2019 - Cover2
Collector – August 2019 - 1
Collector – August 2019 - 2
Collector – August 2019 - 3
Collector – August 2019 - 4
Collector – August 2019 - President’s Page
Collector – August 2019 - Industry News
Collector – August 2019 - 7
Collector – August 2019 - 8
Collector – August 2019 - 9
Collector – August 2019 - Best Practices
Collector – August 2019 - 11
Collector – August 2019 - FYI
Collector – August 2019 - 13
Collector – August 2019 - Collection Tips
Collector – August 2019 - 15
Collector – August 2019 - How a background in making people laugh has helped Roger Weiss, ACA’s new president, educate and engage an industry.
Collector – August 2019 - 17
Collector – August 2019 - 18
Collector – August 2019 - 19
Collector – August 2019 - 20
Collector – August 2019 - 21
Collector – August 2019 - 22
Collector – August 2019 - 23
Collector – August 2019 - No Good Option
Collector – August 2019 - 25
Collector – August 2019 - 26
Collector – August 2019 - “You’ve got to be a compliance cheerleader for the organization, and that takes a lot of energy.”
Collector – August 2019 - 28
Collector – August 2019 - 29
Collector – August 2019 - Protecting Health Care Data
Collector – August 2019 - 31
Collector – August 2019 - 32
Collector – August 2019 - 33
Collector – August 2019 - Calendar
Collector – August 2019 - Honor Roll
Collector – August 2019 - Education Spotlight
Collector – August 2019 - 37
Collector – August 2019 - 38
Collector – August 2019 - 39
Collector – August 2019 - 40
Collector – August 2019 - 41
Collector – August 2019 - 42
Collector – August 2019 - 43
Collector – August 2019 - 44
Collector – August 2019 - 45
Collector – August 2019 - 46
Collector – August 2019 - 47
Collector – August 2019 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector – August 2019 - Ad Index
Collector – August 2019 - Membership
Collector – August 2019 - 51
Collector – August 2019 - Last Word
Collector – August 2019 - Cover3
Collector – August 2019 - Cover4
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