4 media tips for Trump
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Congratulations, Mr. President-elect! You are about to become numero uno in the world. You have a big job ahead of you.

Lots of people are going to give you advice. Here's some free tips on how to handle the media, from someone who was once part of the press corps.

Rule No. 1: Don't assume all media members are bad. Like most human beings, reporters come in all stripes.

Believe it or not, most are fair-minded people who work hard in a profession that separates democracies from dictatorships and ensures that individuals are informed about the world.

Painting people with a broad brush is something you seem inclined to do. It's a slippery slope and I wouldn't recommend doing it with journalism. Overgeneralizations about media tend to backfire.

Rule No. 2: Be careful about the word "media."

It encompasses far more than just the reporters you seem to despise. Citizen-journalists are everywhere, with their cameras and cellphones, blogs and posts. Even if you could corral and control all the reporters in the world, opinion pieces will still flow. You can't singlehandedly shape all of them.

Rule No. 3: Remember this quote often attributed to Mark Twain: "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel."


The same holds true for those who buy bytes by the barrel. The information business is big and growing. You hold a very powerful position, but there are more of them than you.

The megaphone or bully pulpit gives you volume control. Try not using it just to yell.

Rule No. 4: People matter.

Public support is essential for governing. You ran a successful campaign. Now you have to run the country, and that takes help from citizens and their representatives.

People take what they read and hear seriously. Remember, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time. At some point, you will want to win over the hearts and minds of ordinary folks who get their information in multiple ways.

Make sure they can trust you.

Lastly, I suggest you try using a charm offensive with reporters instead of waging war with them. They want access to you and they will work hard to get it. But if you create a group mindset against you, journalists will gang up on you and make your days even longer than they are now.

The good news is that news is news. Each day brings a different story. You can set the agenda until the agenda sets you. As you will learn, world affairs, in particular, tend to interrupt even our best narratives.

So don't jump to conclusions yet about the people who cover you. Stay open-minded. And stay tuned.

Tara Sonenshine is a senior career coach at George Washington University's Elliott School for International Affairs, and formerly served as undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs. She has worked for ABC News, Newsweek and online media.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.