Who You Gonna Call? Not a Reporter

At a recent conference where participants heard from about a dozen reporters, I heard a repeated refrain by the reporters – “Don’t call me.”

They all said their mailboxes were full and that they couldn’t keep up. One said he kept his phone muted.

Reporters prefer email or a tweet to a phone call. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

Reporters prefer email or a tweet to a phone call. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

The preferred method to reach reporters was email, followed closely by Twitter.

“Twitter is a quick way to reach people and find stories,” said Bill Schackner, higher education reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Karen Travers, a correspondent for ABC News, said, “I never answer my phone. I’m never at my desk.” She most recently was the digital reporter covering the Obama White House, traveling across the United States and to nearly 20 foreign countries with the president.

“I am often impatient with phone calls,” said Richard Perez-Pena, the higher education reporter for the New York Times, during another session. “Emails should always be the default position.”

One reporter’s email signature has the notation, “Phone number available upon request.”

I don’t have an issue with the approach. In fact, I would like reporters to do the same. I’m seldom at my desk but my tablet or mobile is always with me. If the reporter sends me an email, I’ll see it long before I get back to my desk, and I can begin working on the request.

It doesn’t matter what tool we use to communicate. It does matter that we communicate.