Under normal circumstances, we don't do service-y "how to" journalism, but after watching the market nosedive yesterday after Maria Bartiromo's bombshell assertion that Ben Bernanke told her the media had misinterpreted his remarks about future rate hikes, we're going to do everyone a favor and offer Mr. Bernanke a few suggestions. The most crucial point, from InvestmentNews.com's "How to Talk to A Reporter" guide:
4. Set the ground rules for the interview at the outset, but understand the reporter might not agree to them. As soon as someone says “I am a reporter,” assume anything you say may be used in print, quoting you by name, title and company affiliation. Unless you state otherwise at the outset, you are on the record.
In our experience there are a few other unwritten rules:
1. Speak to the reporter loudly and slowly, as if you're talking to someone who recently had a lobotomy.
2. If you don't want to answer a question, tell the reporter that you can't disclose that information because it would be a RegFD violation. If you don't work for a public company and RegFD isn't applicable, tell them it's a RegFD violation anyway. They won't know the difference.
3. If you're a private company and you get the sense that the reporter in question doesn't understand basic finance (very, very common), it's a good time to inflate your valuation. Insist that twenty times revenue is a perfectly reasonable multiple, and if the reporter expresses any skepticism, tell them you also put together a DCF using a conservative discount rate and arrived at the same number. You'd show them the model, but there's a buggy macro you have to get your analyst to fix, and... hey, maybe later?
How to Talk to a Reporter [InvestmentNews.com]