It seems like hardly a day passes when there is not a homeowner association in the news for a myriad of reasons. Some good reasons and unfortunately, some not so good reasons. So it is always best to be prepared and deal with whatever the issue is in the most productive way possible.
If a member of the media contacts you regarding any association matter, it is advisable to contact the board president immediately and your association manager as soon as possible.
– Disregarding or slowly responding to these inquires can have television crews knocking on your front door unannounced.
– Disregarding or slowly responding to inquires can result in the following being said on television: “We have left repeated messages with the association and they have not responded.”
In responding to media inquires, here are some basic recommendation.
Inquires by Telephone
Obtain the name of the person calling and the media organization.
It goes without saying, but always be polite; remember the reporter is just doing their job.
Find out when the anticipated time of release of the information is, in print or broadcast. This may be referred to as a deadline.
Ask the reporter to email or fax their questions over and you will contact the appropriate person on the association board and this person will respond. The reason you want written questions is so that the board of directors can draft the appropriate response. Talking off the cuff in front of a television camera or on the telephone can result in misunderstandings and possibly unflattering quotes. Written responses to questions are more precise and allow the board to share their side of the matter evenly.
Inquires in Person
If a television reporter or a newspaper reporter confronts you unexpectedly again remember the reporters are doing their job.
Make sure you understand each question from the media before answering. If you cannot answer the question, or are uncomfortable providing a response, take the reporter’s number and advise them that the appropriate board member or the association manager will get back with them as soon as possible.
Always avoid saying; “No comment.” If you must respond it sounds better to say; “It is not appropriate to comment at this time.”
Never attempt to make “off the record” statements. In other words, never tell the reporter anything you do not want attributed back to you.
Again, it is always best to be straightforward in your dealings with the media. However, unless you are accustomed to being interviewed by the media, you may be at a disadvantage. A disadvantage in that a lack of experience in this arena may not reflect well on the homeowner association as a whole. The board of directors thoughtful and precise comments are always the best approach to media inquires.
Copyright – William Douglas Management, Inc. 2017