Frequently asked questions about media queries

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about our media queries. You can find more FAQs here.

What’s a media query?
Do you acknowledge every response?
When will the story run?
Am I in the story?
Can you add a link to my site?
Could you at least refer to my company? After all, I’m responding because I’m interested in getting some publicity.
Can you include my company name, product or book?
If you can’t guarantee a mention of my company or product, I don’t want to participate in your story. Can I withdraw my response?
I want to help with your story, but I’d rather remain anonymous or use a pen name. May I do that?
I want to arrange a telephone interview with my client or want to be interviewed myself. When can we set that up?
Can you send me a link to the story when it’s published?
My client wants me to follow up on this story opportunity by phone. What’s the best number to reach you at?
Will this story appear in print or online?
What does “syndicated” mean in your queries?
I’ve been interviewed for your story. You ran a fact-check. But the story never appeared. What’s going on?
I want to make my response “off the record.” Can I do that?
May I pitch you on another story?

What’s a media query?

A media query is a public request for sources or information on a developing news story sent via HARO, Profnet or via social media.

If you’re reading this because you responded to one of my media queries, I want to let you know how grateful I am for offering to help. I’ve put together this section in the hope that it will quickly answer any questions you might have.

Do you acknowledge every response?

Whenever possible, I send out a form acknowledgment letting a prospective source know that I received the query. Since media queries can sometimes generate hundreds of responses, I can’t always send a personal acknowledgment. I wish I could.

When will the story run?

I typically file my stories several weeks in advance. But my editors may choose to run the articles sooner or to hold the articles indefinitely.

Am I in the story?

If you’re in the story, I’ll do my best to make sure you see a draft and have a chance to make any corrections or suggestions. If you don’t hear from me with a fact-checking query, it’s safe to assume you will not be in the story.

Can you add a link to my site?

I often include site URLs in my draft, but featuring them in the final version is my editor’s call. Some outlets link back to sources liberally, others don’t. I have almost no influence on the process, unfortunately.

Could you at least refer to my company? After all, I’m responding because I’m interested in getting some publicity.

Normally, I include the name of a company or organization when it directly relates to the topic of the story. For example, if I write a story about legislation and you represent a nonprofit organization that lobbied for the new law, I would probably include your organization’s name. If you’re a citizen who would be affected by the law, but you work for a start-up company that sells widgets, probably not.

How about a product or a book? Can you give me a shout-out?

If it’s relevant to the story, absolutely. But I can never guarantee it.

If you can’t guarantee a mention of my company or product, I don’t want to participate in your story. Can I withdraw my response?

No. All emails sent in response to a media query are considered “on the record” in accordance with accepted journalism practices.

I want to help with your story, but I’d rather remain anonymous or use a pen name. May I do that?

If you’d like to remain anonymous, please tell me in your initial response. Unfortunately, I’m unable to grant your request for anonymity retroactively. My news outlets have strict rules about naming sources, so generally, they don’t allow me to cite anonymous sources or to use a pen name.

I want to arrange a telephone interview with my client or want to be interviewed myself. When can we set that up?

I make my email queries as detailed as possible. They contain all of the questions I would ask during a phone interview. If you’re interested in being featured in the story, please consider sending a detailed email with your thoughts on the topic.

Can you send me a link to the story when it’s published?

Unfortunately, because of the high volume of responses, I’m unable to contact each source individually when a story is published. However, I make every effort to share the articles via social media and through my newsletter. I would encourage you to sign up for either my daily newsletter or my blog’s RSS feed.

My client wants me to follow up on this story opportunity by phone. What’s the best number to reach you at?

My number is (202) 370-7934.

Will this story appear in print or online?

The news outlet is always listed in my query. I’m hopeful that the answer is “both” but I normally don’t know until the story is published. I am not told in advance by my editors

What does “syndicated” mean in your queries?

Many of my stories are not written for a single outlet. Some are distributed through King Features Syndicate, which transmits them to newspapers that include the Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and Seattle Times, among others. Others are self-syndicated to a list of more than 300 publications, which include the Huffington Post, Yahoo! Finance and the LinkedIn Influencers Network. I heavily promote all the stories on social media. (Let me put it to you this way: I almost never get complaints about my stories being under-exposed.)

I’ve been interviewed for your story. You ran a fact-check. But the story never appeared. What’s going on?

Rarely, a story I work on will not be published. I try to let my sources know when an article is spiked, but am not always able to. (If you think that’s bad, consider that I don’t get paid for stories that don’t run.)

I want to make my response “off the record.” Can I do that?

Yes. If you want something to be “off the record” please say so in your initial response. This includes any media embargoes or sensitive information. You can’t make something “off the record” retroactively.

May I pitch you on another story?

Yes, and I hope you will. I would strongly recommend that you review my work to get an idea of what kinds of topics I write about.

Got a question you’d like us to answer in the FAQ? Please send us an email.