(Image Courtesy of http://www.misopocky.com)
A few weeks back, I was asked for some advice about how to address the media about a recent story where a news outlet really got the story wrong. The reporter got a hold of some facts, but out of context the story unfolded in a negative light.
The person was prepared to unload on the reporter based on some advice, and “set the record straight.” While we talked, we discussed the possible outcomes and various questions.
Would this approach improve the situation? Would the reporter write a better story as a result? Would this escalate or calm the negativity?
As the conversation progressed, they shared a story with me.
When their child was young, they came home with something that looked like ringworm on their arm. Based on some advice, they immediately applied iodine to the area (look it up kids, this was our parents cure for a lot, especially minor cuts: we think it was the sting that they liked the best).
The area worsened, and became more inflamed. More iodine was applied and the cycle continued.
Eventually, they sought additional advice from a doctor.
“What you have here is a case of eczema.”
“So it is not ringworm?”
“No, and that iodine is just making it worse.”
While we spoke again about the reporter and the story, the question became an easy one: Is this going to be like putting Iodine on Eczema?
The answer was simple: Yes.
Instead of an aggressive approach, they decided to put the facts together like a story. A story that wove in the reasons and the successes associated with those original facts. Instead of just sending it along, they called the reporter and asked for a meeting.
A few days later, I received an email with a link to the new news story. It was positive and even the headline made reference to the earlier article being like comparing apples with oranges.
I had to ask myself, when have I put Iodine on Eczema? When would a little healing salve made things so much better for my situation, my work, my story, or my relationships?