Lashing out publicly at a reporter or media outlet is something that happens every day. Politicians do it. Organization leaders do it. Business people do it. Sports team officials do it. And it gets them nowhere. You will lose.
Reporters go about their work believing in their mission: to report for the public’s right to know. Sometimes, for example, politicians don’t agree with a story. Most times, reporters have an inkling about whom will not be happy about a particular news story. But it’s not going to change how a professional journalist reports on an event or story.
Here’s where the situation can slide. Politicians, especially, who use public time in council chambers, or before local cable TV station cameras to bash media outlets will usually end up ‘paying’ for lashing out — eventually.
It’s often suggested that journalists have thick skins. Many do. But being personally attacked in a public forum is something that stays with most journalists for a very long time. What could happen? You could be bypassed as a source. You could be branded not media friendly as word circulates among other journalists in a newsroom, thereby limiting yourself as a source for future stories. Or a journalist may be filled with excitement to embrace a story next time a not-so-positive news tip comes in about you or your organization.
And, never forget this, most editors will staunchly protect and defend their reporters. That means you could be the target of an editorial or opinion piece, for public consumption, of course. Or your outburst could become fodder for a story (ie. politicians who use the TV cameras to lash out).
You won’t win a fight with the media. Journalists, editors and producers always have the last word.
If you are angry at the media, you will achieve far greater results if you sit down one on one with the media outlet. Try to avoid doing a phone call to air your beefs. Ask for a personal meeting. Face to face is always better. From personal experience over many, many years in the media industry, most such meetings end with mutual respect and a handshake. And most importantly, your opinions will not have fallen on deaf ears. They stay stuck in editors’ and journalists’ minds. Which means your visit will have an impact in the long run. If nothing else, journalists and editors will be subconsciously more careful next time.
That’s how you win, when you have a beef to air with media.