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There is no reason why relationships with the media should be confrontational neither should they be too close. Both sides must be respected for their own independence.

 

I started building relationships with journalists ever since I was at University and we were going through serious political problems between the Belgian linguistic communities. It never stopped. Journalists are always trying to find sources of information and good communicators, whatever the support is. I am now contacted by one or two of them every week. I also communicate with them on hot topics.

 

There is always a risk associated with media. On several occasions, I was surprised to see the headlines of interviews. They were giving a different color or spin to the content of the article. Since readers rarely go beyond the headlines, it can be damaging. By and large, however, I have been treated fairly and respect their independence.

 

As I worked in companies exposed to media interest, I realized how the idea to hide from them is a mistake. The same applies to talking to journalists like a press release. Leaders need to be comfortable with that relationship, but also understand that there is a distance that needs to be maintained to keep one’s freedom. They should resist the attempts of their attorneys to speak to the media in a candid and honest way.