Margaret Thatcher’s legendary former press secretary Bernard Ingham has died at the age of 90. Whatever your views on his politics (or the politics of his boss), he was a formidable operator. I love this quote attributed to him:
“Always feed the dogs at the front gate or they’ll scavenge from the bins at the back.”
Keep that quote in your mind as you prepare for media engagement. Journalists will generally want to seek out a news line and if you don’t feed them one they’re more likely to pursue paths you might not want them to head down.
Good content leads to control and direction. A lack of content means you will always be on the back foot in interviews.
Incidentally Ingham was very generous with his time. At university I (smugly) wrote my dissertation on whether his power and influence undermined our democracy. Despite this premise he agreed to meet and we ended up talking for over three hours. I was determined to get a decent news line out of him…and failed to get even remotely close.