Communicators urged to be more flexible in dealing with media

DAVAO CITY Organizations including those in government should relax their policies and be more flexible in dealing with media inquiries to achieve effective collaboration.

This was the advice of Noel Alamar, a veteran defense reporter of radio dzMM, to the participants of the ongoing 1st National Information Convention (NIC) at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City that runs from Feb. 19 to 21.

While it is generally acceptable to have a plan to deal with the media, your organization must remain flexible in dealing with the media inquiries on a case-to-case basis and not being locked in an overly restrictive policy, he said.

Talking to more than 1,500 participants, many of them public communicators from the country's 16 regions, Alamar said government office should designate only one spokesperson to avoid conflicting answers to the media.

We need one person to whom we can verify or clarify facts and information, get credible comments and validate stories. We need that, he said.

Alamar said the spokesperson needs not answer every question being asked by the media.

Just because the media ask doesn't mean you have to answer. You have no obligation to answer every question. Answer questions you are prepared to handle, he said.

He reminded everyone that is not a sin to admit mistakes in giving out information provided correction should be done immediately because it will retain the organization's credibility.

Sometimes the most sensible thing to do is to admit your mistakes. Correct the public record. If you don't, the inaccuracy will go uncorrected for so long that eventually it will become a media fact, he explained.

Speaking from mainstream media's perspective, he emphasized that time is of the essence in announcing the fresh news to the media.

News is like fish, better fresh. So, you should announce it now, not tomorrow. If it is big news, inform the media right away, he said.

He said media appreciates organized events like the NIC, lauding the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) through Philippine Information Agency (PIA) for a job well done.

Carrying the theme, Spurring Development and Empowering Communities through Information, the three-day event hopes to strengthen public and private media partnership.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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