Important terminology related to news media

B-rollThis is film footage that can be used as background images for television news or films. It is useful to have high-quality film footage of your clinic or project available, especially in the case of a major announcement when a television news program may request b-roll to accompany a story on your study for the nightly news.
DeadlineDeadlines in journalism are strict and final. Unlike other fields, there are no extensions or second chances as the deadline means that the paper is going to print or the news is going on the air. When journalists say they are on deadline, respect their time frame.
EmbargoScientific journals and medical conferences often have strict embargo policies that stipulate the date and time when information issued to the media may be released to the public. If news is under embargo, journalists cannot publish or air the news until the stated time. Embargoes can be useful for both journalists and scientists, because they allow key journalists to access information prior to its public announcement. This provides them enough time to do a good job reporting the story without ruining the surprise. Reporters who regularly cover science and medicine generally respect embargoes. Embargoes are a professional standard in certain contexts, but mean little in other settings.
ExclusiveAn exclusive interview or story means that you have established an understanding with a particular journalist to not share the story with any other journalists, at least until after the story is published. Providing journalists with exclusive information can be useful in certain situations and help foster relationships based on mutual trust and respect.
FrameHow the story is presented—who defines the issue and what views are expressed.
News hookHooks are the components of a news story that make it interesting to the reader, such as immediacy, timeliness, controversy, effect on a local population, or dramatic human interest. When considering whether to pursue your story, reporters consider whether there is a news hook.
“No comment”This is a dangerous phrase said to reporters in moments of panic—try to avoid it. Saying “no comment” often suggests that you are either hiding something or you are uninformed and incompetent. Instead, turn a question around and respond with a key message or simply say, “This is not my area of expertise . . . I can only speak about my work on . . .”
On/off the recordThese terms can mean different things to different reporters. However, you should assume that everything you say to a reporter is on the record, meaning that it could be used in an article and attributed to you. Do not be tempted to say things off the record. If you cannot say it on the record, you really should not be saying it.
PitchTo suggest a story idea to news reporters, producers, or editors.
Sound biteShort, attention-getting quote that communicates the gist of your message.

October 8th, 2013