Unformatted text preview: Reporters Reporters The emphasis in a media relations program should be on the "relations" aspect working to build longterm relationships with the people who cover your organization Good media contacts proliferate once they are established Reporters It is a peopletopeople business A media relations person deals with writers, editors, producers and photographers, not with stations, newspapers and websites Knowing how to assist a reporter and his/her supporting cast will make the difference in longterm relationships with the media. Reporter Motivation To report the story well Accurately Attentiongetting To write it quickly Who are These Guys? Want information NOW Want dramatic visuals NOW! Want human angle Want eyewitness accounts Will seek other sources of information to fill the gap Who are These Guys? How Reporters Think Conflict David and Goliath examples Blame Game Must understand your biz in 5 minutes Reporters believe they are changing the world Who are the Media? Aggressive Breaking news best ingredient on a resume reel Pack journalism How Newsrooms Operate The Players o o o o o o Assignment Editors Reporters Producers News Directors Newspaper Editors Photographers How Newsrooms Operate Stories assigned Reporters/photographers Editors place and edit News Cycle Stories upstreamed to the networks at lightning speed Tremendous news inventory News Cycle Media is going to fill X amount of space with or without you Don't leave a news vacuum Media Dangers Delays media reads as cover up They don't trust your information Will seek other input, even if not in investigative mode Fact Bobble CONFIRM, CONFIRM, CONFIRM Always Reporting Watch idle chatting The camera is always rolling Home video/freelance video/cell phone cameras Media Deadlines NOW! Old sense of time deadlines is gone They don't trust your information Will seek other input, even if not in investigative mode What They Will Ask Who, What, When, Where, Why & How the "5Ws" and the "H" Who developed? What is it? When will it go to market? Why did it take so long? How does it work? First Rule Meet the reporter's deadline Respond same day... no, respond same hour Often Challenging Other things going on in the day Time it takes to get clearance to release info Learn the Media's Deadlines You should know the regular and latebreaking news deadlines of all the media that normally carry stories on your organization News desk of any publication or station will be happy to tell you its deadlines. Phone or email the media outlets and make a list of the deadlines that you keep handy when working with reporters. Learn the Media's Deadlines Avoid phoning a reporter around deadline time unless it is critical info Always set news events and schedule release times to meet your key media's deadlines Internet, radio and allnews broadcasts report just about instantaneously and repeat the news frequently so the time you choose is not as critical to them. Take Advantage of Tech If emailing to multiple media, be sure to send it individually. You can purchase software or subscribe to a service to do this. Don't send it to yourself and insert your distribution list in the bcc line. Most reporters check your website when writing their stories so make certain your website is current this also makes it fair! Add an online press kit and a link that is easily found on your site Take Advantage of Tech Make sure you can count the number of visitors to the online press kit, number of downloads.... Work with your webmaster to make sure your site is easy to navigate and that it ranks high on search engines You should have a relationship with your IT department that is no different from the one you have with your printer or graphic designer. Take Advantage of Tech Consider placing news conferences and special media events on your website for reporters who cannot attend in person Your IT department can help you design the site for the web but the copy is yours Learn to write for the web http://www.dartmouth.edu/~webteach/articles/text. Know the News People Another important element in your relationship with the reporters who cover your organization should be your knowledge of their special interests either because the publication or station has assigned them to the area or because they have a personal interest in the topic Know Your Organization's People No sin in admitting you do not know the answer to a reporter's question. It is a sin to not know the people in your organization that have the answers. You must have a thorough knowledge of your organization's business "That means you must understand corporate strategy, marketing plans, products, competition, internal challenges and future opportunities." Grune, CEO Reader's Digest Time for the Interview
Tips for the interview An interview is not an intellectual exercise; it is an opportunity to delivery specific messages to specific audiences through the filter or a reporter. Be Prepared When you are dealing with the media, any mistake is liable to be a public one. The skills required to be an effective interviewee or spokesperson must be practiced and perfected. Preparing for the interview Know our story Use figures Use quotable language Consider the audience Anticipate! Sit at the reporter's desk Develop a personal message Determine (three) key points Why three points? Communication research three is a basic organizational grouping that enhances the audience's ability to remember key points Three strong messages are just enough to keep firmly in mind. Respond to questions but always go back to your points Transition to your point That's an interesting question, let me remind you though... Before I forget, I want to tell your audience... Let me just add... During the interview Take control Turn negatives into positives Avoid professional buzzwords Beware of "Off the record" Spokesperson
"No matter what you do in life, your success at it relies heavily on your ability to communicate and explain your point of view to others in a way that will convince them to share it, or at least consider sharing it. This is called persuasion, and every human being is engaged in it constantly." John O'Toole, Foote, Cone and Belding Characteristics of Spokesperson Must have knowledge of the topic to be discussed with the reporter An understanding of the organization's overall objectives and strategies Firm grounding of the facts in order to speak confidently and positively Someone who can think quickly and walk gracefully in the line of fire Characteristics of Spokesperson Ability to tell and sell what he/she knows in everyday language and from the point of view of the reporter and the ultimate audience Confidence of top management Well respected within the organization Desire to do the interview Overall presentation style Presence and personality Reflects the personality of the organization Your Role Who do you represent To the Reporter, you represent the organization To your organization, you represent the reporter To do this you must know everyone's objective Reporter wants a story Your organization wants a message delivered Rules for Responding Always respond to a reporter immediately Know who in the company should respond What data should remain confidential and what can flow free Always be accurate and only discuss what you know When you talk to a reporter you are talking to the world Nothing is off the record! Keep it simple Take notes after the interview and forward them to the appropriate people. But don't start answering questions immediately Hints on Interview Techniques An interview is not a conversation, it is a highly structured situation Remember the objective Prepare and practice Simplify Place your most important points at the beginning of each response Hints on Interview Techniques Do not let your guard down Whenever you hear "What if..." from a reporter, realize it is speculation and open to wide interpretation Respond to negatives with positives Use examples Stick to the facts and reel the reporter back into addressing factual content Hints on Interview Techniques It is not only what you say but how you say it that communicates Think fast, talk slow Never forget the ultimate public Talk about benefits to your target public Talk in terms of "we" and "us" for the organization not "it" Humanize (a bit) with your own personality Hints on Interview Techniques Be sure your messages reinforce your organization's overall branding Do not guess, do not be embarrassed if you do not know something Do not let the reporter answer the question for you/put words in your mouth Look for any hidden agenda Avoid jargon "Do not rise to the occasion" Do not get in an argument, state your case positively Do not be offended by a reporter's personal questions Compare
Kraft Foods CEO MIT Research Television Appearances Appearances definitely do count on television 1960 KennedyNixon debate Those who listened to radio thought Nixon had won Those who watched the event on TV thought Kennedy had won Television Appearances What to wear? Look professional. Blue still preferred choice but orange is appropriate Avoid extremes No busy patterns, stripes Sparse jewelry Men in calflength socks in case they cross their legs Television Appearances Watch the tan lines and five o'clock shadows Women no excessive makeup If necessary use a little powder to control perspiration on the head Television Appearances The camera magnifies whatever it sees Act naturally No wild gestures Do not roll eyes while thinking about how to answer a question No Gum No Soda Always include your main point in every answer right up front Assume you are onair all the time your are with the reporter Radio Interviews Unless it is a major news story or a live interview the station will only use a brief segment (10 20 seconds) of your interview Make your main points succinctly Practice out loud Repeat your company name several times during the interview Interview NoNos Do not ask to review the story in advance Do not tell broadcasters that 30 seconds is not long enough to tell your story Do not tell the reporter you will provide written answers to their questions if they will email them to you Handling Factual Errors Contact Communication Services Determine if it is really incorrect Do nothing Contact the reporter and request a record correction Write a letter to the editor Ask for a correction Post a correction on your website Remember, yesterday's news is today's bird cage liner ...
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