"Thanks" seems to be the hardest word

Tomorrow's Business

A hack turned flak writes in with a conundrum: how should he respond to a story he is happy with?

If he’s over-effusive with thanks, doesn’t that suggest that the reporter had been too soft?

If he says nothing, isn’t he in breach of the requirements of common courtesy?

It’s a tricky one. I think “thanks for being even handed” works best when I’ve written something critical.

It suggests the flak is an adult. That she understands that things won’t always go her way. That reporters are just doing their job.

That sort of approach means the flak gets taken much more seriously when they do complain.

Blimey, thinks the honest hack, she’s not usually one to moan. She must have a point.

I also think that whatever the circumstances, short, simple “thank you” notes are increasingly rare in each direction, and that they go quite a long way in establishing goodwill.

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