I’m having an experience right now with a group who will likely appear in an upcoming story.
Weeks ago, I sent an email giving a short overview of my investigation. It asked to talk on the phone and I wrote that I would like to bounce some ideas around. My offer was a branch showing I am open to other ideas. I also noted that I was using a specific case in my news story.
Now I’ve received a statement that addresses the specific case, but not the broader issue in my story. No one from the organization has called to take me up on the offer to talk openly.
My advice: when a reporter is willing to be open on a story that may not be favorable to you, take him up on it. Some journalists really do want to be open, upfront and honest from the start. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when people act scared or afraid of a simple conversation.
(Bad taste doesn't affect the story. It will be as fair as ever.)