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Gently encouraging journalists

We had some feedback from a user of our ResponseSource Enquiry Service recently, a small business owner who uses it to respond to media requests in order to promote her fashion website.

The crux of it was that all too often after working closely with journalists in providing case-study information and assisting in photo shoots, her business ends up with no credit in the resulting articles.

My response to this was informed by my experience as a former journalist – that media outlets will not normally credit the source of all material. This can be due to editorial policy, relevance to the audience or just a matter of space. And even if a writer included a credit, it could be removed at any of the many editing stages most media outlets put their copy through.

Our advice is to assume that you will not always get a credit, but when you do it will be worth it and make up for the others. And even the non-credited coverage can sometimes be put to good use – for example by sharing links on social media or email where you can make it clear you are the source.

As a former journalist herself, my customer understood all of this. But she thought we should ‘gently encourage’ journalists and media outlets to include relevant credits to organisations that have helped following a ResponseSource request. I have my doubts we could alter media behaviour in such a way, but her argument was that as “ResponseSource is far and away the most widely used service of its kind in the UK” (her words not mine) we ought to have some influence.

Would it be appropriate for us to encourage journalists and media outlets who use ResponseSource to credit the organisations that help them? And if so would it make any difference?

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