Who would have ever thought that your media interview would be proclaimed by the television news media as an exclusive, when your interview might only be a run-of-the-mill, routine interview?
Day and night we see the television news media proclaiming in words and news banner graphics that an interview or news story is an exclusive.
During my days as a television reporter, we defined “exclusive” two ways. In it’s purest form, an exclusive is an interview that all the other media wanted to have, but that no other media could get. The interview also revealed groundbreaking information that impacted the audience significantly.
Another example of an exclusive may be an investigative report that revealed information other media outlets were unable to obtain.
These days, television producers and anchors call something “exclusive” simply because the other media outlets don’t have it, even when the information is insignificant to the audience or fails to reveal any groundbreaking information.
These television stations will call a traditional one-on-one interview an exclusive. For example, if television station XYZ interviews the city’s mayor in a random interview and the other stations have no desire or need to interview the mayor, station XYZ calls it exclusive. By my standards, this is a disturbing news media trend.
If the mayor had told station XYZ he or she was resigning during that run-of-the-mill interview, then that would be big news and that would be an exclusive.
If you are in public relations or communications, this trend could impact the company, non-profit organization or government agency you work for. You must be aware that any ordinary interview might get blown out of proportion by your local television station. This means a rather insignificant amount of information might get more attention than it deserves.
On the other hand, you may have an issue that no media really wants to cover, because the event fails to be significantly groundbreaking. Yet, if you offer that report to a reporter with the promise that they can have an exclusive, you may get coverage.
There is a serious danger in offering media an exclusive. Sometimes the other media outlets feel you intentionally snubbed them. This may cause them to ignore your organization in the future. It may also cause them to be slightly biased against your organization and perhaps portray you in a more negative light.
Exclusives are a growing problem. Proceed with caution.