Here is a simple rule for those that have to deal with the press:
A journalist is just a customer with no money and no intention of buying what you sell.
In other words, if you are trusted to talk to customers and you have the time, it is well worth devoting a little time getting to know some people that write about your industry. Talk to them in just the same way that you would talk to a customer, but enjoy the fact that the pressure is off in terms of converting a sale. Pitch your ideas. Tell your stories. Discuss the issues that come up, but do it honestly. I guarantee that you will get some great ideas back. In the past, I have used discussions with journalists to road-test new ideas for pitches. Use the fact that they are jaded old hacks to your advantage – if you can tell them a story that sparks some interesting conversations then you can guarantee that the same stories will be equally compelling for real customers with real money and a real interest in what you have to sell.
A word of warning, though. PR people will try to sell you expensive courses to teach you how to talk to the press. They will retain a savage attack-dog Paxman-on-steroids type to scare you into buying even more of their supervision and guidance. My advice – don’t bother. Be honest. Say something original. Enjoy it.