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CDC's Injury Center 20th Anniversary:Tips and Tools for Working with the Media

Managing Your Messages

A challenge for spokespersons may be the ability to stay “on message.” Spokespersons should be able to clearly and accurately communicate messages, objectives, and goals. They need to be trained to easily call upon approved messages—in both written and oral communications—when addressing different audiences, including the media. Spokespersons also should be able to weave the messages related to the initiative into real-life stories during media interviews.

Share the following helpful tips with your selected spokespersons:

  • Have three succinct messages crafted
    Explaining the main points you want to make
  • For broadcast interviews
    Define three main points you want to make and use every opportunity to communicate these points
  • Write some quotes in advance
    Practice saying them so they sound natural
  • If a reporter begins asking about issues you are not familiar with
    Simply say you are not an authority on those issues and are only speaking on behalf of the initiative. Then repeat the central message to "bridge" back the topic you are discussing
  • Always assume you are on record with the reporter
    Never speak in "confidence" or "off the record" and don’t offer personal opinions. Correct any misconceptions the reporter may have. Otherwise, they will assume their information is correct and may use it in news stories