US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District

Media Training Home

Who Needs Media Training

The Training

  • Working with the Media
  • 6 Media Principles
  • 10 Tips to Remember
  • Correcting Errors
  • Media Query Policy
  • Handling a Call
  • Questions You Ask
  • Interview Ground Rules
  • Using Quotes and Bites
  • Avoiding a Disaster
  • Handling Tough Questions
  • Verbal Communication
  • It's Your Attitude
  • Body Language
  • Dress and Appearance
  • Media Opportunities
  • Put the Castle Forward
  • Parting Tips

Questions?

Setting the Record Straight

  1. Be Vigilant: Significant media errors in fact or misquotes in stories which raise public concern or damage the Corps' image must be corrected. Bring these to the attention of the Corporate Communications Office, whether your project or program was the subject of the article or not.

    On the other hand, if you think the reporter should have used a different one of your quotes, or that the reporter put a negative spin on the story, there is no grounds to ask for a correction. If you said it, it's printable. If the reporter is accurate but slants a story, it's their literary license.

  2. Don't Overreact: If the error in fact is significant to the point of affecting public policy or raising public concern, the Corporate Communications Office will call the reporter, and the editor or producer if needed, and politely point out the error. The media, in such cases, will generally run a correction.

  3. Don't Respond Personally. If the story is unfair or has a negative slant, a letter to the editor may be in order. The Corporate Communications Office will coordinate a fully-staffed letter for signature by the Commander, the Corporate Communications Office, or the subject matter expert as appropriate. Other actions may be taken using the Strategic E-Communications process (posting to the District Web site, news release, e-mail, etc.).

  4. Don't Take It Personally: The story is not about you but about the government. The media uses stories to inform and sometimes create or stir public debate and discussion. The fact that you are motivated and inspired to talk about the article proves they are accomplishing what they meant to. 

  5. Expect Fairness, That's All: The media's job is to show many sides of a story, not just the Corps'. They do not run news release verbatim unless it is a public announcement or supports their news needs at that moment. Contentious issues require the reporter to find as many viewpoints as possible so the public can understand the many facets of the issue.

  6. Don't Let It Get in Your Way: You need to maintain positive relationships with our media representatives. They are an outlet to many of our customers. An occasional error or mistake should not affect your relationship or willingness to work with these key public figures. The public will allow an error or two. They will not appreciate avoiding the media, nobody being available for comment, or "no comment."

  7. Evaluate What You Could Have Done Better: Review your role in the article, identify how you might have contributed to the error or negative spin (talking too long, unclear messages, lack of adequate information for the media, inadequate response time, etc.) and commit to improving in your next interview. 

  8. Consider A Project Web Site: If the media is consistently promoting misinformation about your project or issue, contact the Corporate Communications Office about the need for a Web presence that will allow the public access to accurate and timely information.