When to Phone, Fax or E-mail

Unnecessary telephone calls and "junk" fax and e-mail transmissions are among the most annoying aspects of a journalist's day. Keep them to a minimum.

Phone a journalist only when the information is urgent and cannot be transmitted in any other way — for example to provide a journalist with access to a key source in a breaking story.

Certainly, do not phone a journalist to find out if he or she has received a mailed, faxed or e-mailed news release of a routine appointment!

Consider faxing or e-mailing the material, rather than phoning, if the urgent information is complex — including source names and telephone numbers, news summaries, news releases on breaking stories, etc. Journalists can much more easily assimilate such information on paper or as an e-mail message, or can forward it to the appropriate writer or editor, than can scribbled phone messages on a paper pad. Journalists often appreciate a telephone call first asking if they want the material faxed or e-mailed.


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