PR Tactic: Briefing A Journalist

06.05.21

How do you brief a journalist? why do you do it? What even is it? Read our simple guide below to see how to brief a journalist.

 

What is it?

When a journalist is interested in one of your stories and they call you for more detail, and you have to brief them on the key aspects of the story. 

 

Why do you do it?

The purpose of a briefing is to give deeper meaning and understanding to a story. It’s to help understand the background and the context to decisions. 

 

When do you do it?

Here are a number of instances when:

  • When a story of you are working on is popular, and you get interest from more than one journalist and you brief them one by one. 
  • You can also seek out a journalist working on a particular story that you have an interest in, if you have useful information to give them. 
  • There may be a story that you have tangential interest, but have very useful information on. You could brief a journalist off the record and not for attribution. 

 

How do you do it?

Before you brief a journalist:

  • Write out your key points. These should be a mixture of: 
    • Opinions.
    • Points of fact.
    • Quotes.
    • Background information.
    • And stories with colour. 

 

  • Make sure that you consider the needs of different media. For example:
    • On-line Media
    • Radio,
    • Tv
    • Daily Newspapers
    • News Agencies. 
    • Broadsheet or tabloid. 

 

  • Make sure that you consider the needs of different types of a journalist. For Example a political journalist will want something different to a finance journalist, or an opinion columnist. 

 

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Jack is a media innovator with over 20 years of experience at the most senior level in the Irish communications industry. He has worked in marketing, journalism, and media relations. He is a former political spokesperson and government advisor, as well as an award-winning corporate PR practitioner.

 

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