Now more than ever, truth and accuracy matter.

The role of communications and media relations officers is important. They’re grooming subject matter experts so the average Joe can understand their complex lingo, but they’re subverting democracy at the same time.

Many journalists consider media training to facilitate deception. However, while there may be some truth to this, it’s not a belief we should fully subscribe to.

The role of the “kind and supportive” media relations officer is much more complicated. They have a tough job, filled with tight deadlines, pushy reporters, and sometimes even more pushy clients.

Used correctly, media training is a powerful and honest storytelling tool that promotes the interviewee’s own interests. Unfortunately, too many journalists have had negative experiences with media relations, especially requests for interviews and statements being ignored.

Not responding to these requests is not a media relations strategy. This is very problematic and makes you look shady.

Another example of poor media relations is the refusal of simple interview requests. Many media relations managers believe that media organizations are always looking for a “bad” or “negative” angle – an accusation leveled against many student journalists.

If student journalists are the sensationalists some think we are, journalism is in jeopardy because we are going to take over mainstream media, whether you like it or not.

When you, as a communications or media relations officer, decline an interview request, the risk of incorrect information being published increases exponentially.

If interviews are declined, we cannot establish a timeline of events or fact-check and correct sources who have said something negative about your organization. The reader deserves to know your side of the story, but you let them down, not the reporter who gave you a chance.

When a statement is sent instead of the more specific interview, it is often 30-150 words long, vague, does not answer any of the questions asked, and it is very clear that the person writing the statement has nothing to do with decision making. process.

The public lacks the information needed to hold leaders accountable; the leaders continue their work with impunity. They know that their name will not be attached to any statement sent. Heck, they probably don’t spend more than 30 minutes watching the questions posed by the reporter.

Student leaders and public institutions, including governments and universities, have a duty to respond fully and properly to media requests from their student newspapers. If their work is aimed at students, they must be willing to respond to the same students who work as student journalists to inform their communities.

So here are some tips for media relations: answer questions, be honest if you don’t know something, don’t spin things unnecessarily, and know that it’s okay to tell your full story. .

After all, the truth has many facets. The defense of democracy is the responsibility of all of us.

Asbah is a third-year biotechnology student and That of the magazine News editor-in-chief.

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