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Watch out for cross-talk and don’t be drawn into double-speak

01 July 2015

IT channel media talk to and exchange emails with people in the channel every day. No one can control these myriad exchanges and often, there will be quite a lot of cross-talk as well. One day for example, the MD of Company A may talk to the Sales Director of Company B, who then talks to the Head of Marketing at Company C, who in turn talks to Analyst D. They may well discuss a certain unfolding issue or story between them, with different nuggets and nuances being added along the way.

During the course of the next day, all four might talk to a particular journalist who, having picked up the scent of the story, calls each of them on the hunt for more details. If you start to get drawn into one of these circles, you need to take care. What you tell one contact, even in confidence, the information may soon reach the ears of the media.

Being aware of how these circles work and how stories can find their way to the IT channel press through them is important. But if you want to make sure a story does not appear in the media, it’s best not to tell anyone that might have contact with channel press.

Of course, knowing how the circle works can also be useful if you to make sure a story does appear on channel websites and in media.

But it is also important not to try and exploit or manipulate the situation to your own ends. Journalists will always be skeptical about information they receive and, if it later turns out to have been inaccurate or overblown, they will remember and let their direct contacts know. Those contacts will subsequently take anything they hear from you with a heavy pinch of salt. The next time they speak to the press, they may say that they’re not sure if they trust what they’ve been told.

If your name eventually becomes associated with trying to spread inaccurate information, your reputation with the IT channel media will suffer. And if it suffers with them, it will suffer more widely too.