Wendy Bailey, our Regional Presbyter, has posted some excellent advice on speaking to reporters. Experience has shown that, as the General Assembly makes some of its more controversial decisions, pastors may find themselves contacted by newspaper reporters and other media people, to get their views on the issue.
Publicity is good for local churches, and most pastors I know are more than happy to get the names of their church in the news. In this situation, however, it's important to be precise and thoughtful in replying to questions. Off-the-cuff responses can be easily misinterpreted or taken out of context.
So, it's a good thing to think in advance about what to say. Wendy's best piece of advice, in fact, may be that it's OK to ask the reporter to call back a few minutes later, to buy yourself a little time to formulate a response or scribble out a few rough talking-points for yourself. (Don't wait too long, though, because the reporter probably has a deadline looming.)
Please remember, too, that Wendy and I are more than willing to talk to reporters, if you want to refer them to us. You may also want to suggest that they talk to one of the Presbytery's commissioners to General Assembly. Monmouth's commissioners this year are the the Rev. Doug Chase, Brick; the Rev. Barbara Hicks, Lakewood Hope; Beverly Marsh, East Brunswick; Jim McGuire, Point Pleasant; and Young Adult Advisory Delegate Peter Stelljes, Yardville.
Now, here's Wendy's advice: