I’m odd.

– or at least a little unusual. To be polite, you might say “interesting”. Whether it’s my writing, voluntary work, disability or unusual hobbies, I’m accustomed to being approached by journalists and their ilk with media requests.

This can be very flattering – I’m being interviewed on BBC Radio Wales at the end of this month about my volunteering in connection with creative writing and NaNoWriMo.

Sometimes it’s not actually about me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t assume the world revolves around me, but if a reporter says they want to interview me, I at least expect them to ask questions that show they know who I am and then show some interest in my response.

I’ve had a rash of requests recently from non-professionals contacting me for information without being entirely honest about themselves. Or thinking properly about their questions.

To make things a little easier for such people, here is a template you can use for such emails.

________________________________________________________

Dear [insert name]

I am a [schoolchild / student / wannabe writer] and I [have been given an assignment to investigate / need some padding for a free magazine on / think I can sell an article about] [insert topic].

My [teacher / lecturer / editor] is too stupid to realise that all I’ve done is to ask [weirdos / experts / other writers] like yourself to do my work for me. So if you’d just tell me [what it’s all about / what your life is like / everything about your subject], then I can copy and paste this into my own assignment.

Of course, you are too stupid to realise that that’s what I’m doing, either, or maybe you are just flattered that a normal person is condescending to ask you about yourself. So you will send me a nice long reply, which I can cut to fit the 250-word limit I’m meant to be writing.

You must realise I am paying you a great compliment by asking for your input, so you should not expect me to [thank you / give you any credit / learn anything from this exercise].

And when I’m famous for being an [investigative journalist / radical film director / television reporter], you’ll be able to tell people you knew me just before I hit the big time. But don’t expect me to remember you – I meet so many little people.

________________________________________________________

Not that I’m bitter or anything – but I wish so-called journalists would at least be honest about who they are, ask specific questions and explain why they’re asking. Oh, and say “thank you” for the response.

Is that so much to ask?

 

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