Politico's Ryan Grim writes on "The art of the leak" today, putting a magnifying glass on how politicians and government officials in the nation's capital work with the media. He discusses how information is "leaked" to and from the press, in hopes of generating news coverage or providing perspective without accountability.
"There are probably a thousand leaks a day here," Grim writes, and then cleverly identifies 11 different types of leaks including the "I Scratch-Your-Back-You-Scratch-Mine" Relationship Leak, which he translates to "I'll confirm that nasty rumor now, but you owe me."
In America's statehouses, there are significantly less reasons to leak information. (In fact, in the media training I do, I encourage legislators and staff to avoid any off-the-record or background discussions with reporters.) But, as with all rules, there are times when leaks are necessary, but it takes skilled spokespersons and journalists to pull it off.
Still, the theme of the story is true, the press would rather get its information from sources rather than from a news conference or press release. (A 2004 NCSL survey of legislators and reporters confirms this. You can read the summary here.)
The bottom line is, if you want media coverage, you need to learn how the media operates. Even if you find it a leaky situation.
[Photo by Jenny Romney, courtesy of Flickr.]