Things Not to Say to a Reporter

1. "I don't know why you're covering this. It's not a story." (Oh really? The whole reverse psychology tactic? You're so ninja. Not. Yes, I still say "Not.")

2. "Isn't this old news?" (Nope.)

3. "Why do you think this is a story?" (Do you want the dissertation or my CliffsNotes version? Again, since I already explained the story to you and why you're relevant to it, it's very annoying if you proceed to quiz me on why I want a comment from you.)

4. "I'm not going to talk to you about this but I will talk about..." (and then go off on a tangent to try to divert our attention.)

5. "You don't want to put me on camera." (Yes dude, I want to PUT YOU ON CAMERA. That's why I'm on the phone with you. I didn't call because I knew who you were in your little dark office before this story broke.)

6. "Well, it's really more complicated than what you're saying." (No doubt, but here we are, and I have 120 seconds to explain it, with or without your help, so please, ENLIGHTEN me.)

7. "It's not a problem, not the way I see it." (Commence: shady explanation.)

8. "Here's the REAL story." (Oh, so now you're insulting us too! So charming.)

9. "Must be a slow news day, huh?" (Mentally, my eyes are rolling into the back of my head, but I smile politely and carry on. It's very British of me.)

10. "Let me get back to you." (Unless you actually will, in which case, I am eternally grateful.)

11. "I can't get you a comment on that. No one in our office can." (What you really mean is, "I won't talk. And I won't let you talk to anyone else.")

12. "No comment." (Saying "No comment" just makes you look hinky, even in the rare occasions when you're not.)

If you say these things, it means you are trying to divert our attention from covering a story or that you think you're going to be able to manipulate us, or that you think your uppity standoffish winning personality is going to convince us we are in fact, sadly mistaken, and we should just wait for a pat on the head and permission to go home and watch cartoons while drinking our milk. Not. Acceptable.

You just make yourself more suspect. And annoying us makes for a less favorable result in the story because we don't write as nicely when we're annoyed.  Just think of all the people who leave you feeling annoyed. Then think about writing a story that involves them. It's human nature. Annoying people beget stories that don't reflect well on them. It's a scientific fact. Just Wikipedia it.