ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; Can you tell your story to the press without selling your soul?

Sir Tim Bell, Lowe Bell Communications

Sir Tim Bell, Lowe Bell Communications

‘It depends on whether you are doing it for gain, or to clarify matters.

If you are doing it to achieve your own ends, you must expect the press

to use you to achieve their own ends. As for the Press Complaints

Commission’s judgment on Julia Carling, I think it is like a judge

saying she was wearing a short skirt so she deserved to be raped. I

think that judgment is wrong. I don’t see why if somebody talks to the

press about one subject they have to talk to them about anything else.’

Brian MacLaurin, MacLaurin Communications

‘Every case on its merits, but if you have someone who has not spoken

out, not made their life public, it’s always better to keep quiet.

There’s no point in telling your side of the story to keep your image

up, you get other people to tell it for you. If Julia Carling asked my

advice, which of course she never would, I’d say Julia keep your dignity

- say nothing, keep your mouth shut. Why do you need that level of

exposure? People always imagine things but when they read it in print

they know it.’

Alan Edwards, Poole Edwards

‘Once you start giving information about your life to the media, they

aren’t going to select only the tasteful bits. But most people don’t go

down that road, they don’t have to. As for just refusing to say

anything, that is usually a recipe for disaster, it’s an invitation for

the media to try other routes, like calling up people’s families and

that can get very upsetting.’

Julia Thorn, Paragon Communications

‘You can manage your relationship with the media but you can’t

manipulate it. Those who think you can are sadly mistaken. Managing the

media means understanding and respecting their agenda and likely

position and acting accordingly to promote or protect your interests. In

the face of potential negatives, hiding in the hope they’ll go away, or

resorting to ‘no comment’ will give the media free rein to draw their

own conclusions. And courting them in the expectation that you can

exercise total control of their output is naive and arrogant.’

Hugh Colver, Consultant

‘I think the answer is you don’t have to sell your soul but you do have

to understand that if you engage in a relationship with the press,

inevitably that relationship will not be one-way traffic. The day after

I left Central Office, I had TV crews in my house, radio crews in the

street, I had done that, I had asked for it, I couldn’t then slam the

door in their faces. You have to accept, within reason, there is a

potential downside.’

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