If you work on Capitol Hill you see, hear, and overhear many things that the rest of the mortal world isn’t privy to. These privileged professionals that serve our US government acquire a wealth of knowledge that sometimes is just too good not to share. We’ve provided a platform on which they can unload.
Five Reasons why Hill staffers love DC reporters
We all understand the fun game comms staffers and members of the media play don’t we?
Our bosses are doing stuff. We want people to know about that stuff. We pitch the media so they can report about the stuff. They accidentally miss our emails. We follow up. It goes into their spam folder. Trump tweets. They find our info and ask for comment.
And so it goes…
But the thrill of the game is the real reason we got into this business, isn’t it? (Oh yeah, and to help people.) So each time we’re ready to throw our phones against a wall or blacklist that pesky reporter who always sends urgent emails during happy hour, we should probably remember that they ’hate’ us as much as we ‘hate’ them.
Oh, and these other five things.
They know what they’re talking about (most of the time)
DC reporters know their shit. They’re tuned in and they’ve done their homework. When they care about an issue, they don’t get on the phone and waste your time. They understand the policy, they get the process, and they know where your boss stands. These reporters are professional AF and they won’t throw you under the bus.
They’re down to play ball
This is Washington, D.C. – the land of “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” Reporters (at least the good ones) understand that once they burn someone, they no longer get access. So rather than printing every single juicy nugget a Member may drop during a 15 minute interview, they’ll practice restraint and stick to the relevant, albeit less sexy, quotes. That kind of discretion gets a nod now and an in-depth interview later.
They believe in – and practice – balance
If you live in DC, you have an opinion. On. Everything. For reporters, this can be tricky because there’s that thing they teach in journalism school… what is it… fairness in reporting? Something like that. Anyway, that can be tough for highly educated, highly opinionated people who are constantly in the middle of huge national stories. The seasoned DC reporter understands that biased journalism gets you nowhere other than rapid fire high fives from partisan hacks. That’s why the good ones will always reach out for both sides, even when they wish they didn’t have to.
They aren’t jerks
There’s this thing that less-experienced, out-to-get-you reporters do, where they call or email you for a quote five minutes before their deadline. Then when you don’t respond within that five minute window, they’ll put some bullshit line in their story about how you didn’t respond to their inquiry. Seasoned DC reporters don’t pull that garbage. They give you time. They follow up. They do their due diligence.
They give you a heads up
It’s inevitable that sooner or later, your boss will be on the bad side of an issue and there will be a story about it. Some reporters enjoy blindsiding you with paragraphs full hyperbole and self-serving sentences with outrageous adjectives that no one should ever use in a news story. (Extortionate. Really? Who do you think you are, Miriam Webster? Give me a break.) But DC reporters will give you a heads up when they’re about to ruin your week, because at some point in the near future, the tides will turn and they want you to remember their act of kindness when they’re in desperate need of inside information from “an anonymous source close to the Congressman.”