Reporters can highlight trends or point out continuing patterns within a news story, but they cannot state things with absolute certainty. However, journalists love to quote newsmakers who state absolutes.
“We will bury you!” – Nikita Khrushchev
“Read my lips. No new taxes!” – George H.W. Bush
Journalists eat up quotes like these from politicians. Absolute phrases are attractive to reporters because they add drama to the story and make a key point more memorable.
Reporters can write or say what happened yesterday and today, or what is expected to happen tomorrow, but a reporter cannot say, “Over my dead body will I sign an executive order mandating his execution.” And yet, a reporter will always quote a politician who utters such a phrase.
Stating any message point with strong conviction or finality will increase your odds of getting quoted. Sometimes it can be as simple as interjecting the word “absolutely” into a statement, i.e., “We are absolutely committed to building this bridge by the end of summer.”
Additionally, if you use the words “never” or “always,” you create an “absolute” quality to your message. Remember, if it is absolutely essential that you get your message quoted in the story, use words that convey an absolute conviction on your part.
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