The relationship between candidate and journalist doesn’t have to be antagonistic. Bad blood often stems from the campaign failing to reach out to reporters early in the race.
“The first call [to a reporter] should not be a complaint,” Bill Fletcher, a partner in Democratic media firm Fletcher Rowley, said Tuesday at C&E’s Art of Political Campaigning conference in Washington. “You’re going to lose standing.”
If damage control needs to be done, go into the conversation relaxed and armed with rational talking points. Try not to become the nagging consultant who complains often because the reporter will be less likely to take you seriously.
“They’re not bad people, but you need to understand their motivation,” Fletcher said. “They will hurt you even though they’re not meaning to.”
If the press does turn against your campaign, social media provides another outlet for the candidate’s message. Twitter, for instance, offers pinned tweets and the ability of a campaign to use hashtags to drive the online conversation.