When general aviation makes the news, the reports all too often are inaccurate and portray GA in a negative light. AOPA's new seven-minute online course, " Guide to Talking to Reporters," is designed to inform pilots about the media and to offer tips on dealing with reporters' questions.
Although much of the negative reporting is a result of the media's misunderstanding of GA, some of the problems happen when well-meaning pilots speak to reporters without properly preparing for the interview. Without media training and experience, those people may find that their words are edited to result in a meaning they did not intend. AOPA's online program includes an example of an airport manager who found himself in just that situation.
To avoid having that happen to you, AOPA's "Guide to Talking to Reporters" suggests contacting AOPA Media Relations (301/695-2162) for assistance when faced with an interview request. If you are the subject of an ambush interview, the online program advises you to be calm, courteous, and concise, and to contact AOPA as soon as practical.
Each of us has a responsibility to avoid creating negative news. Carelessness when flying around restricted airspace, leaving airplanes unsecured at the airport, and allowing reporters to walk around your local airport without an escort, can result in publicity that is harmful to GA.
AOPA Media Relations can be contacted at 301-695-2162.
December 8, 2005