14+1 tips for escorts who have to talk to the media
| For escorts, Legal, Safety
In the escort industry, it isn’t too common to get requests from the media for interviews or comments. It seems they would prefer to make up their own information or rely on heavily tainted insight from anti-adult industry activists. However, once in awhile, a journalist will attempt to contact escorts for a story.
Reporters, just like government enforcers, feed off of those who can’t control themselves
When you are approached by a media representative, it’s important to know how to handle your conversation with her. Escorts who don’t know what they are doing are frequently disappointed when their words appear in print insinuating opinions they never had.
Use this checklist as a reference when and if you are considering talking to the press about your escort career:
Be realistic about media’s common stereotypes concerning the escort industry. Common stereotypes include assumptions that all escorts are drug addicts, have STDs, were abused as children, suffer from mental illness, are working their way through college, are forced into the lifestyle, work with a pimp, lack self-respect, are too lazy or incapable for other careers and/or have sex addictions. The press rarely paints an honest or favorable picture of a typical escort. Journalists routinely attempt to convince escorts to talk to them by telling them they won’t write a judgmental piece or don’t have any preconceived notions about the industry. They attempt to gain interviews with flattery and by pretending to be your friend. But, always remember that a mainstream media reporter is as much of your friend as a police officer.
Review the publication prior to granting an interview. When a journalist contacts you for a story about escorting or anything similar, ask questions about the publication it will appear in or which website it will be published on. Typically, you can get a pretty good feel for the attitude of the publication through the other content it distributes. For instance, the Jezebel website features liberal, pro-feminist articles that feature tongue-in-cheek humor and often adopt an unconventional position. Conversely, The National Review is a publication that produces commentary, articles and news coverage that appeals to conservative readers. If through reviewing the content of the site or publication you feel that your interview will not be taken with an open-mind or that the reporter has an agenda contrary to your intent, it may not be productive to follow through with any further conversation. Always confirm that the journalist is indeed representing the mass medium she claims to be.
Count on being misquoted. Journalists are paid to disseminate a set of views that would influence minds in such way that their employers will gain more power. If truth, accuracy, standards or guidelines get in the way, they will be discarded. It’s extremely common for a source to find that their quote appears out of context, misguiding readers to believe something different than the intended concept. Often, a reporter doesn’t fully comprehend what a source is telling him. He may use the quote inappropriately simply because he didn’t understand what his source meant. And sometimes, a writer will grossly misquote a subject simply in hopes of licking her employer’s posterior. Of course, this is against all journalism ethics, but journalism today is alive only in small, independent media.
Avoid giving your real name or any other personal details. If you do submit to an interview, do not share anything private that reveals your identity with a reporter. She can still use your quotes, information and insight for her article without being required to have your legal name. Providing too many details about yourself can give your reporter enough information that she could investigate more about you. Her story could become even more interesting as she uncovers personal details about your private life to incorporate into her story. Even if she tells you she won’t publish your real name or details, count on her doing exactly this. Your personal details are unimportant to her story. If you absolutely have to, make up your name and entire biography – this will exercise your imagination and fend off brain aging.
Don’t go on record with a reporter. Genuine journalists respect a source’s request to be “off the record”. However, other writers don’t always know what this means. Many times, when you go off the record, you provide information to a reporter that he can use to investigate a story further. For instance, you might tell about a fetish that some escorts specialize in, encouraging a reporter to find other sources to corroborate any details you’ve shared. However, in this era of anyone being a self-titled journalist, your words may be attributed directly to you, instead of being used to get information elsewhere. If you don’t want your quote to be put with your name, don’t tell a reporter anything.
Being vague is a great way to avoid publicity. When you answer a reporter’s questions with non-committal answers or in such ways that it’s unclear where you stand on a topic, your reporter really has nothing to use in his story. It’s extremely difficult to center an article around ambiguous quotes. Additionally, vague answers are much more unlikely to be misquoted. If the quote isn’t worthy of printing in the first place because its meaning is uncertain, you don’t have to worry about being misquoted. In fact, if you give unclear, blurry answers that don’t compel the reporter to feel strongly about your interview, anything you contributed will probably be entirely omitted from the article.
Refuse scheduling an interview. You don’t have to talk to the press, unless you want to. If you’re uncomfortable or apprehensive with the thought of discussing your life with a reporter, you can respectfully decline the invitation for an interview. If you feel funny about outright rejecting a journalist, put her off by telling her to call you back later. You can always be “too busy” to talk. Eventually, the journalist will have to get on with the story to meet her deadline, letting you off the hook.
Avoid suggesting other escorts as sources. It’s a pretty common practice for a journalist to ask for other ideas for sources once he’s found an industry insider. Because he has limited information about who the movers and shakers in the field are, he has hopes of relying on you to hook him up. Also, he is hoping that if he drops your name when he contacts other escorts he will be given better opportunities to prove himself and get more information for his story. Giving out other escorts’ contact information is presumptuous and a breach of personal discretion. Most escorts won’t react positively if you give out their details to a writer. If you do feel that a reporter is worthy of your assistance, offer to help by forwarding his contact details to other escorts who could provide information. As you contact them, don’t personally give the reporter a reference. But, do inform them that you sat for an interview and wasn’t completely turned off.
Think ahead as you speak. Everything that you say during an interview can be misunderstood. A reporter may not perceive your comments as you mean them. The English language is full of double-meanings and connotative words that may give different impressions than you want. Avoid using phrases that could confuse a reporter, engaging in lingo that is standard for the industry or exhibiting an attitude that could be used against you. Always think ahead about how someone might take what you’ve said if they didn’t know you or have knowledge about the context in which you said something. Use clear, concise language that is point-driven and includes complete sentences. Remember, also, that the way in which you communicate is a direct reflection on you; attempt to appear educated, intelligent, poised and classy.
Avoid being rushed during an interview. Mistakes are easily made during a hurried interview. You can misspeak or provide unclear answers to questions. Always take your time with a journalist. If you are in a hurry, don’t let him convince you to just take a couple of minutes to quickly chat. Even if he is in a hurry to complete a story, do not let him railroad the interview so that he can only ask questions that support his agenda and ignore any other perspectives. And, reporters appreciate it when a source gives them full attention, so attempt to schedule a time so sit and talk with him or her. But, don’t test a journalist’s patience by taking too much time to share your side of the story.
Be charming. Put your best foot forward and impress your interviewer. Dress well, speak meaningfully and exhibit that sparkling personality of yours. Escorts who utilize their people skills with journalists fare far better than those who treat them with impatience and dislike. Writers find it much more distasteful to crucify or judge truly likeable subjects. If you can establish a genuine connection with a reporter, much like you do with a client, you will benefit yourself in the long run. Don’t doubt the fact that reporters like to be wooed, too.
Avoid arguing with a hostile reporter. Mainstream reporters start writing a story with a pre-established hook and focus, without having even interviewed a single subject. When this type of a writer contacts you for information, she will dominate the conversation and ask questions that lead you to provide answers you are uncomfortable with. She points blame and often makes statements, instead of asking questions, using your agreement or disagreement as words you’ve spoken. When you run into a hostile journalist who refuses to view both sides of a story, it’s perfectly acceptable to end the interview. You will not win any debates with her. She may even refer to you being combative, argumentative and closed-minded, even though those actions are the ones she, herself, exhibited.
Ask for other details about the article. Inquire about when and where the article will be published or printed, insinuating that you are excited to read it. Get it in writing. When a writer knows a source is going to be reading an article, it’s more of a challenge to directly misquote or misrepresent her. Escorts may also ask about who else will be included as sources and what other information will be covered in the article. It’s also a fair question to wonder how the quotes and information you provided will be used. During this bit of questioning, you should get a feel for whether your words will be used against you or will be applied to the issue objectively.
Record your conversation. The final, published interview may be drastically different from what you were led to believe it would be. If, as a result, you attract too much unwelcome attention, use your copy for insurance and self-defense.
Avoid contact with the press altogether. If mass media could change anything, they would be illegal.