Help! There’s a journalist on the phone!


If there’s a story you’d rather not be promoting, there are a few golden rules to get you started.


  1. Keep calm and polite – rudeness or anger will only make matters worse.
  2. Ask the journalist to tell you all the information they have (they will probably be willing to do this because they hope you will confirm it and add to it).
  3. Ask the journalist exactly what they want from you and be clear what it is. It might be confirmation or denial of something; comment on something; additional information about something.
  4. Thank them for the details they have given you, take their name, the organisation they represent, and their contact details, and tell them you will get back to them shortly – ideally within the hour.
  5. Use this time calmly to work out what you do and don’t want to say. Write it down. Never, ever, use the expression ‘No comment’! If you don’t want to comment on something, be prepared to give some explanation why not.
  6. Contact Communications at Church House, North Shields who may be able to return the call on your behalf.
  7. Call the journalist back and be prepared to explain what you have decided to say, but don’t go beyond it.


Communications department at Church House: 0191 270 4139 (direct line) or 0191 270 4100 (switchboard) or email


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