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Media Relations: How to Respond to Media Enquiries (TRN1-J17)


This job aid lists best practices and protocols for responding to unexpected media enquiries in government.

Published: January 13, 2016
Type: Job aid

Download as PDF (161 KB)

Media Relations: How to Respond to Media Enquiries

Best practices for media enquiries

  • On subjects related to government business, you are not permitted to give media interviews, make comments or discuss official government information with the media unless delegated to do so.
  • Know the protocol on handling unexpected media situations. These processes may vary so check with your department or agency.

Your communications branch has protocols in place to effectively coordinate and manage the exchange of information.

The following tips are intended as a framework of general protocol and may vary among organizations.

If a journalist suddenly contacts you

  • Refer all media enquiries to your media relations team. Have the contact information on hand.
  • Advise your media relations unit if you supplied contact information to the media.
  • Let your supervisor know that a media request was received.

If a journalist suddenly approaches you in person

  • It is preferable that a designated communications officer or supervisor interact with the media at the initial point of contact.
  • The journalist should be advised that the media relations unit is responsible for accommodating any requests for filming or interviews.
  • In most cases, the supervisor should determine the nature of the media request and then brief the media relations unit.

Some good advice

  • Keep the conversation succinct but don't say "I can't comment." You might say, "It is not within my authority to discuss this matter; however, I will make sure that your request is forwarded to our media relations team" or "I would be happy to provide you with the contact information."
  • Remember: even if the information required by the journalist is available on the website, you should still refer the matter to the media relations unit.
  • If you are asked to give an interview on a subject not related to government business, use your judgment and act according to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.

For more information: Directive on the Management of Communications

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