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Disappear Or Come Out. Don’t Lurk…

There are, I’ve learnt from years of interviewing wealthy people, lots of reasons why they might not want to go public about things they’re doing or items they own. Like exposing streams of (hitherto hidden) income to the taxman. Or revealing to their employees how many assets they actually own.

Or embarrassing their children, who are trying to be “normal” at school when their dad is actually an arms dealer/member of the Mafia/dodgy property salesman.

What they don’t seem to realise is that, if they go in front of a journalist, and boastfully reveal to them what they own or how much money they make, that journalist can’t be expected to hide what they know.

Journalists aren’t PRs.

We’re not there to make people look good or to promote their products. We are ferrets, trained to hunt out the truth – and then tell our readers about it.

If your clients own big properties, and want you to do PR, it’s probably worth persuading them to be clear about their exposure.

Either they have to be a silent partner, rather than a frontman for the brand. Or, they put themselves out there, pay their taxes, and own up to what they do.

Putting them in front of a journalist – and then telling that journalist that certain details are off-limits – not only feels dodgy on a human level. It is illegal and it is immoral.

So, get them to make up their mind. Then talk to us. But don’t ask us to fudge details to keep your clients in the money. It’s not what we do.

Post Author

Lisa Grainger has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. When she isn’t working as deputy editor of Luxx, Lisa freelances for publications from Departures and Travel + Leisure to The Times, pens a monthly interview with a leading British craftsman for Walpole, and is sustainability editor at Country & Town House. She has won awards for her travel writing on Africa, and is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel. Her compilation of African myths and legends, Stories Gogo Told Me, funds schooling for orphaned girls through the CAMFED charity.


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