How to Answer Reporter Questions, Deal with “Off the Record” Interviews Covered in New Book

For immediate release                                  Contact:    Ed Barks
Wednesday, July 10, 2013                                              (540) 955-0600


Spokespeople seeking advice on effective Q&A management when dealing with reporters and handling “off the record” media interviews now have it at their fingertips. Both issues are addressed by Barks Communications President Ed Barks in the newly published PR News Media Relations Guidebook.

The first thought piece, “Master the Give-and-Take of Interviews, And Build a ‘Bridge’ to Your Message,” begins by noting, “Many executives tend to answer reporters’ questions literally, similar to how they might treat an everyday exchange. This is a big mistake.”

Barks introduces the concept of “bridging” for more effective response management. “Bridging helps you foster consistency of message. It paves a direct path from the reporter’s query to the story you want to tell,” he writes in his commentary. He also illustrates how to apply the bridging procedure.

The second article is titled, “Setting Expectations and Managing Risk During Off-the-Record Conversations.” In it, Barks writes, “If you want to raise the temperature in a roomful of PR practitioners, toss out the subject of ‘off the record’ media interviews.”

He goes on to provide standard definitions of such terms as off the record and “on background,” and references 10 best practice recommendations to use when spokespeople participate in off the record interviews. The commentary is based upon research conducted by Barks that resulted in his report, Can We Talk Off the Record? Resolving Disagreements, Increasing Understanding Between Reporters and Public Relations Practitioners.

“These thought pieces contain no-nonsense advice that media sources can use right away, every day,” Barks said. “Responding to reporter questions takes plenty of preparation. Spokespeople who integrate these techniques into their practice regimens are more likely to come out on top.”

PR News Media Relations Guidebook is available at This is the fourth PR News publication to which Barks has been asked to contribute.

Ed Barks zeroes in on the messages and skills that executives need on a daily basis. They gain sharper verbal and nonverbal talents, more confidence, added opportunities for career advancement, and realization of long-term business goals. The former radio broadcaster is the author of The Truth About Public Speaking: The Three Keys to Great Presentations. As President of Barks Communications since 1997, he has taught more than 4400 business leaders, association executives, and other experts how to succeed when they deal with the media, deliver presentations, and testify before government officials.