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Let them get to know you. Check out the picture at the top of this post. It was taken sometime in the 1990s on one of your foreign trips as the first lady. That's me with the jeans, a polo shirt, and a fast-receding hairline. Those are my colleagues in the press corps. You appear to be enjoying yourself.
Fact is, anybody who traveled with you in the 1990s contrasted your friendly, accessible approach overseas to your demeanor and reputation in Washington. Same goes for the State Department press corps, which was appropriately skeptical and respectful.
You need to understand this simple truth: For any leader whose job is the focus of media attention, developing relationships with journalists doesn't entitle you favorable coverage. You're not entitled to anything, actually. But good standing among journalists can get you fairer coverage.
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A reporter who knows you carries background and context into his or her storytelling. That works for you.
They won't pull their punches. Good reporters write negative stories about anybody—"no fear or favor," we call it. But some history with you makes it easier for journalists to see you as a human being, which works for you.
As a journalist, I can tell you: It's easy to take a cheap shot at a title—"The Secretary of State," for instance, or "The Democratic Nominee." It's harder to take a cheap shot at a person I know—and whom I know I might see later in the day. It's called the benefit of the doubt. You might be able to earn it.
Don't confirm negative biases.Journalists assigned to your campaign think they know all about you, because you've been around so long and your reputation is so hardened. The rap against you: secretive, dishonest, calculating, and phony.
Avoid saying and doing things that allow them to reach for those biographical tropes.
That's why the emails are such a huge deal: You played to type. Nobody who covers you believes it was "a matter of convenience" to go rogue, because the explanation doesn't square with the facts or common sense.
Do confirm positive biases. There are some facts about journalists in general that play in your favor.
They love access. Give it to them. Overwhelm them with your presence and the presence of your team via on-the-record settings. Use social media and other new media to make John McCain's "Straight Talk Express" press strategy in 2000 look, by comparison, almost cloistered.
They love conflict. Take advantage of any Democratic challenge to get the media focused on a fight rather than you. Take on the entire GOP field if no Democrat has the guts to challenge you this spring.
They love news. Your communications shop should be a fire hose of policy initiatives and process stories, feeding the beast before the beast feeds on you.