How can we convince them to speak to us?

Andrew Gowers and Nick Davies (pictured right) are absolutely
correct (“Sceptical attitude is vital for accurate business journalism”
and “Factorystyle news will kill off skilled reporters”, Press Gazette,
4 March) .

But what can we do to convince people to talk to journalists?

As a business/trade journalist, I am finding it increasingly difficult to find the right people and to actually speak to them.

Even if I obtain a direct contact (i.e. without
going through the press office), 99 per cent of the time I am told that
the person can’t/won’t talk without the press office’s permission –
which takes me back to square one.

I blame the desire of
companies to control everything, including the press, so that they
protect their image, if not cover up the truth, coupled with the belief
– often by journalists, as well as corporate spokespeople – that
“everything can be found on the web”.

It can’t.

When I
refuse to be fobbed off with “look on the web” or “email a list of
questions” (which are then answered by committee), I get nowhere or am
forced into a conference call with the PR taking part, “guiding” the
conversation.

At best, I am dismissed as being difficult.

And
then these very same people have the nerve to complain that the press
has become very bland and there is never anything worth reading!

Marcia MacLeod London

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