Police chiefs are more likely to receive fair news media coverage if they spend time cultivating relationships with reporters and try to provide as much information as possible as soon as possible, even when a big, complicated story is still evolving. That’s what news media experts told the Police Executive Research Forum recently, according to PERF’s “Subject to Debate.” The panel included Los Angeles Times crime reporter Jill Leovy, FBI public affairs director John Miller and Michael Putney, senior political reporter and anchor for WPLG, the ABC affiliate in Miami.
Putney urged police executives to be careful in dealing with young reporters. “Too many of them don’t really care if their footprints as they ascend in their careers go right over the backs of your police officrs and you,” he said. Said Leovy: “Don’t be afraid of nuance.  There are a lot of reporters who, if you explain the nuances to them, can cover the nuances.” Miller advised chiefs to “get your good news out fast and get your bad news out faster.” He added: “The media are on all the time, which means that if they don’t have you on air, they will find someone else.”