P 305 Media Relations - MAINSTREAM MEDIA RELATIONS Helping...

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MAINSTREAM MEDIA RELATIONS Helping Journalists News is what the media publish and broadcast. It is not necessarily what you think it is or what your boss thinks it is. A working definition of news is: the report of an event or a situation that has significance or interest or both. Hard news is information that has an immediate impact on the audience. According to journalists, it is news audiences need rather than news audiences want. Soft news is the opposite. A story about a corporate takeover is hard news; one about a new swimming program at the YMCA is soft news. Journalists use these news values to decide which news stories or news releases they will publish: 1.) Conflict. An event that demonstrates antagonism, opposition, or disturbance of the status quo is likely to be judged newsworthy. 2.) Magnitude. The larger the event (or the more people it affects or the more money it involves), the more likely it will be judged newsworthy. 3.) Oddity. If something is unusual enough, it will be covered. An old saying puts it well: “If man bites dog, that’s news.” 4.) Proximity. The closer the occurrence, the more likely the news coverage. Always look for the local angle. 5.) Prominence. Well-known persons tend to have activities covered, and coverage confers status on those covered. 6.) Timeliness. Things that happen close to a medium’s deadline usually get preference over earlier occurrences. 7.) Consequence. Stories that educate and inform or relate to audience lifestyles tend to be covered by the media (e.g., How to Avoid Cons That Can Lead to Identity Theft ). 8.) Interest. This refers to stories that are entertaining such as human- interest features.
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Some General Points About Media Relations : 1). The media are not out to get you or your organization—necessarily . Journalists want to be first with the news, or the revelations, or the judgment. Quite simply, the media are a business. Their products are information and entertainment. Your organization is the raw material for their products. Also, if your organization doesn't want reporters nosing around, don't let dumb things happen such as giving your CEO a raise as layoffs are announced, or as the price of gasoline skyrockets. 2). Make sure the media can reach you anytime, anywhere, if they’ve contacted you. The news does not stop after you leave work. Reporters checking late-breaking news or calling from different time zones should be able to reach you. 3). Meet reporters' deadlines . Morning papers want all but major news in by 2 or 3 p.m. the afternoon before. Weeklies, which usually publish on Wednesdays or Thursdays, have deadlines a few days before press day. Mornings or early afternoons are better for television news. Radio is less particular, because it reports news round the clock. Never call a reporter on deadline with anything but critical information related to that day's news. The news desk of any publication or station will tell you its deadlines.
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This note was uploaded on 09/05/2009 for the course PR Nutrition taught by Professor Meadows during the Spring '09 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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P 305 Media Relations - MAINSTREAM MEDIA RELATIONS Helping...

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