The solution is yes.
As in, yes, you should speak to the media. Always.
All too often companies, their senior management and communications people spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating whether they should speak to the media or not, rather than focusing on what is really important—what they are going to say when they do speak to a reporter and how best to protect and build their company’s corporate reputation.
In other words, advocate, don’t evade.
This advocacy can take many forms. Be an advocate for your organization through the media. Or be an advocate for the news media within your organization. The latter is the kind of advocacy of which I am speaking.
What you say is, of course, very critical in shaping your organization’s reputation. As nearly every journalist-turned-public-relations person (of which I am one) will tell you, refusing to speak to the news media will hurt you every time, or nearly every time.
This is the key reason I firmly believe that the best media relations people are tireless advocates for the media within their organizations. Once the internal discussion is shifted from whether you should speak to what you should say, you’ve won a key battle and are, at the very least, in a position to win the conflict that really counts—the battle for your company’s corporate reputation.