Provide a fuller press kit to print writers than broadcast reporters and include suggested questions (do not be surprised if they do not use them — they are independent-minded). They will read any articles you include.
Interviews for newspapers or magazines may be done in person or on the phone. Be sure that you tape the conversation, and when you set up the appointment ask if the writer will be taping (notes are far less accurate, but acceptable for short interviews that are not too technical). Offer to provide a transcript immediately afterward (if the reporter is on deadline, she will probably tell you she will only have time to rely on her own tape).
Major magazines will want you to fact-check the article before it goes to press — usually that only means quotes and attributed statements will be read to you over the phone to confirm accuracy.
Newspapers will not fact-check, and small to medium magazines will rely on the writer to get things right. In that event, you should tell the writer you would like to look over the first draft before it is turned in to be sure it is factual, appealing to her pride in accuracy. Assure her that you will not suggest changes beyond that. No matter how strongly you feel about the way the story is presented, if your suggestions go beyond important factual corrections, you will be viewed as trying to censor the article.
If you are asked irrelevant hypothetical questions, just respond that you do not speculate on unlikely “what ifs.” You can bridge to a discussion of something related, like the firm's future.
If the interview is for a general article about the topic and you only want to be an unattributed source, specify this in advance and be sure you get a clear response from the writer on the tape as to how you are to be identified (a company executive, an industry insider). If your information is very sensitive, do not say anything about it unless you are willing to see it in print with your name attached. No matter how friendly reporters may be, they are not your friends and may be tempted to create a sensation by writing an article identifying you as the source, regardless of the agreement. In that event, report the incident to the editor.
What if the article has errors?
Almost every one does and you do not want to alienate the writer by nitpicking. Write a letter to the editor if the mistake is significant, while thanking the publication for publishing the article. The shorter the letter the better — three paragraphs maximum and expect even that length to be edited. Send it on letterhead with your title indicated.
If you are really unhappy with the article and do not feel a published letter is adequate to correct it, ask the editor for space to write an Op-Ed piece. Or go to a competing publication and explain what the article got wrong. They should be delighted to set the record straight with more information than you were willing to disclose originally (now that the cat is out of the bag).
Usually, errors are due to a combination of the writer's lack of expertise and a tight deadline that precludes fact-checking. Sometimes it is the result of an overeagerness to get a scoop and a tendency to root for the underdog, even when the big dog happens to be right on the issues. But do not let this facet of working with the media make you see them as adversaries. If you clam up, reporters will get the story anyway from some other source, perhaps an unfriendly one.