Geoffrey Stackhouse, Managing Director, Clarity Solutions
Every year we research what journalists are thinking, what they need and in particular what frustrates them about the people they interview.
Without fail, two crimes against communication always come up.
First, the perpetual whinge is: “It’s not news, it’s a brochure”. Reporters are constantly frustrated that the so-called experts they speak with often struggle to deliver a concrete opinion supported by facts and figures that allows them to explain to their readers why a particular issue matters.
That’s a bigger topic than a single blog, and while we do have a course on it, and cover it in our training, let’s focus on the low hanging fruit. And that is crime number two: language.
Journalists complain that most people they interview are so dry they are impossible to quote. Or to use a quote from one journo “Some of them make my ears bleed”. Which says it all really, and is itself a killer quote.
In the battle to be heard by a journalist, words are your most powerful weapon. The smartest thing you can do is choose language that cuts through. An unusual word, a cliché, even a metaphor can help.
Ironically, rather than use language to persuade you, I’m going to let this video do the talking for me.