Decline a Media Opportunity? Say It Isn't So!

In public relations, it’s not common to advise clients to turn down a media opportunity. We, as PR professionals, work hard to secure media interest and persistently follow up with reporters after an interview to confirm publish/air dates. 

The thought of turning down a reporter’s interest is disappointing, but it does happen, and for good reason. Here are a few times when we advise you to say no:

Missing the Target 

It’s great that a reporter wants to use you as a source, but if the topic doesn’t have anything to do with the products or services your company sells, then skip it. It’s important to stay true to your company goals and objectives. If your messages aren’t aligned, it negatively impacts your business. 

This is where a good PR team comes into play. The PR team can serve as a mediator to vet opportunities and ensure that they are appropriate for your company and its brand. The team will understand a publication’s audience and the angle of a specific opportunity to determine whether it’s a good fit.

When our PR team presents opportunities to our clients, we make sure to explain the reasoning behind why they should pass. Hopefully, you appreciate the relationships we are building with the media and have confidence that we understand your brand and messaging.  


Whether it’s an interview, TV appearance, or authored article, some outlets have exclusivity rules. If we pitch and secure an authored article opportunity on “The Five Steps to Securing the Warfighter’s Network,” and another publication bites days later, we have to turn down the request. The author would have a tricky time writing content that differed enough to be original for two separate publications.

Shady Outlets 

As PR pros, it’s our job to vet the opportunities that come through for your company. If we receive an inquiry for a publication that we are unfamiliar with or doesn’t seem to align with our client’s interests, it’s our job to do some digging. We will read up on the reporter and outlet in question.

If we feel the reporter may be seeking a controversial topic that could present our client’s company in a bad light, we will go with our gut instinct and politely turn down the opportunity by saying  “my client is unavailable for comment at this time.”

Industry Scandal

If there has just been a breach or scandal of any kind within our client’s industry, it might not be the best time to go on record. The media may take advantage of someone else’s misfortune and shed your company in a bad light. Maybe the reporter wants to know how you would have handled the situation differently or what you could have done to prevent the incident. Either way, you would now be linked to the event and it may bring unwanted attention.

In the end, it’s your decision to accept or pass on an opportunity, and that is why we take our responsibility to share all potential prospects seriously. It is our job as PR professionals to vet the opportunity and provide you with the most relevant information and advice for you to make a sound decision.

If you seek a team that is so dedicated to building and accelerating your brand that they are willing to advise you “no” if the publicity is not to your benefit, then REQ is the team for you. We would love to help your company reach its fullest potential by finding relevant appearances, interviews, and article opportunities. Read more about what our public relations team can do for your company.

Let’s talk.