Collector – August 2019 - 11

conditions negotiated with the source, it is
important to recognize that some reporters
may repeat the information in front of other
sources. Therefore, it is best to avoid saying
anything not suitable for publication.
Alternatively, if you are uncomfortable
talking with a reporter or if the subject
matter is extremely sensitive, submitting a
written statement or writing a press release
is acceptable.
ACA International experienced the
power of written statements in May when
the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
released its proposed debt collection
rules. Working in conjunction with CEO
Mark Neeb and ACA's lead advocacy
spokesperson Leah Dempsey, vice president
and senior counsel of federal advocacy, the
communications team developed statements
released via press release, social media
and email. Neeb's and Dempsey's remarks
were published across the country by local,
regional and top-tier media outlets.
While Neeb and Dempsey spoke one-onone with multiple reporters, including those
working for The Washington Post, Bloomberg,
the AP and NPR, the industry's position
"went viral" because of written statements and
news organizations publishing ACA's remarks
posted by the top-tier outlets.

COLLECTOR 08.19

IT'S NOT ALWAYS FRIENDLY
In a perfect world, all reporters would be fair,
unbiased champions of the truth. Clearly
this is not the case in modern society, where
competition for breaking news is fierce-and
many reporters chose journalism as a career
to fulfill a fantasy of becoming the next
Woodward-Bernstein team.
When a media interview involves a
controversial topic, relying on prepared
talking points will save you from blurting
out a regrettable statement. This advice holds
true when you are engaged with reporters
who make provocative statements "hoping
it might coax out a better quote," Bradford
Fitch noted in the book, "Media Relations
Handbook for Government, Associations,
Nonprofits and Elected Officials."
Fitch cautions readers to avoid
getting angry with a reporter: "Anger is
inappropriate in all professional settings,
and in this one, your behavior could be
rebroadcast to thousands of readers or
viewers."
Anyone who has been pushed to the
brink of tears or anger by a reporter has a
sense of how quickly an interview can spiral
out of control-especially when the subject
matter is personal. To avoid falling into this
trap, public relations experts advise sticking

TIPS FOR TALKING TO
A REPORTER
* Ask questions before
providing answers.
* Talk in short sentences
and be disciplined in
your speech.
* Debate, but never argue.
* Know your message
and stick to it.
* Don't say anything you
wouldn't want published.
Source: Bradford Fitch, "Media Relations Handbook
for Government, Associations, Nonprofits and Elected
Officials," published by TheCapitol Net Inc.

to your message and politely ending the
interview, if necessary.
Despite unlimited opportunities to tell your
story via social media, follow-up interviews,
press releases and paid media, the most
important takeaway is the first rule in media
relations: never argue with someone who buys
ink by the barrel. You can't win a fight with
news organizations because they ultimately
control the medium.
Kim Coghill is ACA International's vice
president of communications.

11



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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