Pronouns and PR: Make your media relations more inclusive
Hello, my name is Cameron and I use he/him pronouns.
Our roles as media relations professionals are important as we make connections between journalists and spokespersons. Here are a few ways you can make your media relations more affirming by sharing pronouns.
List pronouns of media contacts
List the media contacts’ pronouns in your press releases. Easy. For example, I list:
Cameron McPherson (he/him)
Include pronouns in quotes
In general, you don’t need to specifically point out a quoted spokesperson’s pronouns in your press release. Simply refer to them by their last name or pronouns in future references. (Also important: Make sure you’re asking your spokesperson for their pronouns when writing the press release.)
If the quoted expert is nonbinary or prefers gender-neutral pronouns, the AP shared guidance a few years ago. (For the record, I believe the AP’s guidance is currently limited.) The AP encourages writers to use the person’s last name in place of a pronouns or to include a quick parenthetical to explain the person uses they/them pronouns.
Share interviewee pronouns when you’re coordinating the interview
As you’re setting up an interview, tell the reporter what pronouns the person uses.
Also, if a reporter doesn’t ask, encourage your interviewees to share their pronouns as part of their introduction.
Offer corrections quickly
If your spokesperson is misgendered, reach out to the reporter and ask for a correction quickly. Most reporters will make the update because they want to report accurately.
Please consider your spokespersons’ pronouns while managing media outreach. Using a person’s correct pronouns is an important way to show respect and acknowledges their identity.