PR Training

Get Your Facts Straight and Stick to the Point

For a reporter, recognizing the good quote is similar to what late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about an obscenity case: “I know it when I see it; and this isn’t it.” Similarly, reporters “know it when they hear it.” Yet creating a good sound bite or sticky message doesn’t have to be accidental or serendipity. It needs to be planned, developed and supported.

As a journalist, my first responsibility was to get the facts straight — starting with the 5 Ws. But in virtually every story I needed a good quote, example, third party endorsement or analogy that captured the essence of the facts. 

If the spokesperson didn’t come up with a quote, I’d use something else that was said — but the story was a little duller. I worked better, faster and developed relationships with those who gave the pithy, colorful and descriptive answers. For a reporter, recognizing the good quote is similar to what late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about an obscenity case: “I know it when I see it; and this isn’t it.” Similarly, reporters “know it when they hear it.”

Yet creating a good sound bite or sticky message doesn’t have to be accidental or serendipity. It needs to be planned, developed and supported. In the “Sticky Messages” Master Class we will use case studies and in-seminar practice so that attendees walk out with better tools and skills.

Andrew Gilman, president and CEO, CommCore Consulting Group, has been a communications strategist, crisis counselor and keynote speaker for more than twenty-five years. Co-author of the best-selling book “Get To The Point” (Bantam 1990), Andrew is also a lawyer and award-winning journalist. Most recently he was selected as Educator/Trainer of the Year by PR News. He and CommCore were also selected as public relations counsel for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Washington, D.C.

1 Comment

  • Andrew is right. Additionally, the faster you get to a quote, the faster the interview will end. As a reporter, the only reason an interview went longer for me was because I was still fishing for a good quote.

    Keep in mind that the quote, “That’s one small step for man; One giant leap for mankind,” was written long before man stepped foot on the moon.

Leave a Comment