Tips for Working with the Media
FWS personnel often have ample opportunity to engage
with the media. Here are helpful hints to create a successful
engagement.The public often has no idea what you do or how
you do it. But they are VERY interested and need to hear how
FWS employees are helping out in this incident.
- You can and should talk to the media. If you want to decline
(you can), do it respectfully. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have
anything for you at this time.”
- Stay in your lane. Don’t talk about other agencies or issues.
- Don’t give your opinion. State the facts.
- Say what you are doing in this response and how.
- Be professional. Be polite.
- Use terms you would use talking with your own kids.
- Don’t use acronyms.
- Talk about your training/qualifications that put you here.
- When in doubt, call your Washington or Region External
- Take photos/video when in the field, but get Washington
or Region External Affairs Office clearance for potentially
sensitive or controversial imagery.
- Wear FWS identified clothing. Wear Service uniforms
properly. Take off your shades. If required, be in proper safety/protective gear.
General Do’s and Don’ts
New Carissa - media at scene. Credit: Phil Carroll/USFWS.
Take your time; think before answering
Say if you don’t know.
Stick to the facts.
Say if you can’t answer/explain why.
Talk only about your area of expertise.
Assume everything is “on the record” and being recorded.
Maintain eye contact with the reporter.
Be firm, fair and honest.
Lie, guess or speculate.
Get upset or angry.
Repeat negative words from questions.
Play favorites with reporters.
Say “no comment.”
Introduce new issues or subjects