Employee Pages

When the journalist contacts you

Journalists have a job to do, and you will benefit from meeting them with an open and positive attitude.

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It's natural to get nervous when a journalist contacts you. They are usually not looking to criticise you, but rather want a comment on a current event or more information about your area of research.

Note down their name, place of work and telephone number.

Ensure that you understand why they are contacting you: Are they looking for background information, a brief comment or a longer interview? Ask questions!

Keep in mind that the media targets the general public – you don't generally need a PhD in precisely what they ask about in order to give an adequate answer. If the issue is clearly within your field, the journalist will appreciate the help.

Ask for time to think it over if you want to compose your thoughts and look into the issue. Ask for advice from a colleague or the Communication division if you are in doubt.

In some cases, you can ask to ring back in 15-30 minutes. Remember that journalists are usually pressed for time and are working to a deadline.

In bigger cases, an agreement to meet as soon as possible is normally made. Understand that the media may not be able to wait if your area of expertise is hot news at the time they contact you.

Always ring back as agreed, regardless of whether you choose to work with the journalist or not.

You can ask to see your own quotes and to correct significant factual errors and misunderstandings. You may want to clarify this with the journalist ahead of time.

Negative stories

Respect that the media has a watchdog function in society, which may entail a critical look at UiB or your research. Don't be tempted to hide or dress up a negative story. Be honest and forthright, admit errors and document facts in the case. Feel free to seek the advice of a communication adviser.

Code of ethics in the media

The media has its own ethical rules in the Code of ethics for the media, which applies to the print press, radio, television and online newspapers. Here you can read about what good media ethics are for interviews, checking quotes, correcting errors and a number of other topics.