From time to time, your role as a contributor to Status may bring you into contact with the media. This page has some advice to help you stay cool and on theme when representing Status.
Interacting with journalists
If you are introduced to someone and you know they are a journalist, give them 100% attention
- Go to a private place, get their contact and follow up with them
- Reporters are constantly moving from publication to publication, so it is important to treat them with respect and not ignore them (you never know where they will be next)
- We want to have a positive relationship with everybody
- If you do not have time at the moment and can’t focus on them, try to set up another time for a 1:1 conversation. It is fine to let them know you are currently unavailable and want to follow up
- Get contact information from journalists (they are meeting so many people so important to build a relationship and follow up with them). Give a business card or trade info.
- If you set up a 1:1 time with press - turn your phone on silent. Try not to play with things and come off as distracted
- They will look for different ways to ask the same question - you do not need to feel pressured to answer.
What if a journalist is being rude and trying to force the conversation down an unwanted path?
- Keep your cool - dont express your frustration
- Be comfortable stating that you are not an expert
“Im not sure and I will follow up with you. I dont know exactly where that is referenced - so let me get back to you”
- A harsh and negative response towards a journalist will have a much larger and negative effect than simply not responding
- Better to come off as not knowing the answer than to give a negative reaction.
Be mindful of who you are speaking in front of. If in a public place with lots of people, there may be journalists and reporters from various publications (with different editorial focuses)
- Sometimes we want to tell a specific story with a specific publication so be mindful of talking in front of many journalists at one time, e.g. the story we want to tell Coindesk may be different from the story we want to articulate to SoftwareDev Times
- For major events, try to get a press list ahead of time if possible.
Will it be obvious that someone is from the press?
- Should be indicated on a badge
- They are not trying to catch anyone off guard. They won’t typically hide the fact they are from the press.
When attending events and interaction with press is expected
- Try to stay away from patterned clothing for pictures. Wear solid colors in case there are on-camera opportunities.
Practice makes perfect
- If we are going to an event where we know there will be a lot of press, try to set up practice interviews or practice Q&As with teammates
- Practice the recurring questions. Try to become as comfortable as possible with the FAQs and comms doc.
Is there an expected amount of time to spend with a journalist at an event?
- There are so many people at these events so it is important to understand everyone is busy. Under 20 mins is fine unless it is a planned interview (in which case it can be more)
- 2-5 minutes is also acceptable. ~5 min is fine and should try to keep the conversations clear and to the point
- Depending on the conference we are going to, there will be certain things we want to get across. (e.g. Embark, Nimbus, app). Try to focus on the topics covered at the conference.
Use appropriate language
- When talking to the press when attending an event on behalf of Status, you are representing Status - please use language which you feel comfortable is representative of Status as a whole. It's fine to use whichever tone feels natural to you.
- Be aware of the potential for soundbytes to be misquoted. Try to give clear and unambiguous statements. Expect that any or all part of your discussion with journalists can be reused - if a phrase or statement feels contentious, ask yourself if you would be comfortable with this being used in a printed article. If not, avoid saying it.
- You can ask for discussions to remain
off the recordif you don't wish to be directly quoted.
- It's fine to give commentary to a journalist in a personal capacity. Please specifically ask the journalist to quote you in an independent capacity, and not as a representative of Status, e.g. "John Doe, Ethereum researcher", not "John Doe, researcher at Status".
- If worried about what you've shared with a journalist, follow up with them as soon as possible after the discussion to ask them to run your quote by you before publishing.
Avoid topics around the "ICO" and token price
- It is ok to state that you are not an expert on tokenomics and are here to talk about the technology
- If asked a question about the "ICO", it is ok to say “I simply do not know”
- Do not call SNT holders investors - they are not
- Be comfortable saying that “I am a technologist and would like to focus on that.” Bring it back to decentralization and values/principles.
Why did Status raise so much money?
“I am not an expert on this. My focus is building the tools that adhere to our principles. We have a strong team in place and are working to deliver on these principles”
What do you think about investors who have lost money?
“Our community has supported the project and we have built a strong team to push our product forward".
When asked about topics such as government policy (e.g. censorship in China)
- Fall back on our values when possible
- If you get stuck in an awkward conversation about policy and censorship, reference our principles. “I can’t speak to a specific example in China, but we are building tools that adhere to our principles”
- If you are being pushed down a specific path, be comfortable saying you are not an expert.
When asked about the release of the app?
- Avoid being definitive on timeline. Fall back on principles and commitment to principles.
- Talk about where we are now and timeline to date (have created a strong beta and now it is about perfecting it)
- Deflect hard timelines
- Fall back on principles:
“We are committed to building secure tools and will not sacrifice on this value. We are focused on building a great experience for our users.”
This doc has great advice on projecting your best you while on camera.