Guidelines for Speaking to the Media

Thank you for agreeing to speak to the media on behalf of USJE. Your perspective is critical in painting an accurate picture of the serious challenges faced by USJE front line members.

Please keep these guidelines and tips in mind while you are engaging with journalists:

  • Always present yourself as speaking as a union representative (RVP, local president, etc.). You should not present yourself as a someone speaking to the media in the capacity of your substantive position. However, if you are asked what your substantive position is, you may share that information.
  • Do not provide confidential information about your work, your colleagues or about the identify of an offender. You may, however, reference facts that have already been well covered by the media (a recent example would be the situation at Parrtown).
  • Please do not speak negatively about the commissioner, specific managers, or specific colleagues.
  • Remember that there is no such thing as “off the record” when speaking to a journalist. At any point, what you say to them is fair game.
  • Take your time when answering their questions. It’s ok to take a moment to gather your thoughts before providing an answer.
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, there is no shame in saying, “I’m not able to provide an answer to that question right now, but I would be happy to look into it and get back to you.”
  • Keep the big picture in mind. You are lending your voice to give credence and colour to the larger issue of the current crisis in corrections so that positive change takes place. Use this lens when answering the questions, and avoid being sidetracked by a peripheral issue.

Please let National Office know how your media interactions go. A quick paragraph and/or call about your experience will help us do our job better.

Thank you for agreeing to help us effectively represent and make change for our members!