At least once a week, we receive an email back from a client claiming that the reporter misquoted them. At least once a week, I wish I had not seen that email.
The reality is, people make mistakes and reporters are no exception to the rule. More often than not, a reporter fails to double-check .....
The reality is, people make mistakes – and reporters are no exception to the rule. More often than not, a reporter fails to double-check the spelling of a last name (or even review the interview confirmation that was sent out), or decides to simply take notes vs. record the conversation. For me, my name gets spelled wrong more times than right (not Nick, but Powills, Pawills, Powliss, Poliss) and I have been misquoted several times because the reporter is simply taking notes based on the conversation.
You would think radio or TV would provide less errors, but I have seen clients make faces as if they have smelled the worst smelling smell ever – simply because the reporter said their last name wrong. Given, on TV and radio, there are no misquotes, but there are also much more off-the-cuff unprepared moments.
The reality is, we are all human. We all make mistakes (I probably have a typo in this column). Why? Because perfect is typically unrealistic, expectations are always higher than reality, and the greatest writers in life still make mistakes.
With the overtake of a social media world, mistakes have become almost acceptable (with the exception of those who they are happening to). There are far more LOLs, BRBs and dis colum show be red bye more peeps, homez. We live in a world of speed – and content is not an exception to that positioning.
When I was a rookie writer – and I mean rookie – I covered high school sports for a local Des Moines community newspaper. I wrote a story about the girl’s high school basketball team and included a part about a standout athlete (who eventually played at Drake University – my school – so that nightmare continued to haunt). Her name was Betsy Funk. Well, somehow, someway, I put her name into the newspaper as Betsy Fuck, and boy was I F’ed.
Now, the reality was that my editor should have taken the fall – but my editor placed 100 percent blame on me – I got “relocated” to another editor at another publication and poor Betsy Funk probably got made fun of (for which I am still sorry).
I didn’t do it on purpose. I simply made a boneheaded mistake. Mistakes happen, we all make them, and far too often than not, we rage at the error (even when those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw bricks – that’s for my Dad – and still, thus far in my life, I haven’t found that glass house).
When it comes to earned media, be happy you are being quoted. Be happy that you, as a person, are of interest to those who still hold the news tight to their chest. Everyone makes a mistake, and most of them don’t involve a misspelling of Funk.
Once you get over the expectation of perfect, earned media and PR can be very influential for you. Look at all forms of communications as half full vs. half empty and you will win.