a contact database
A media list
should include reporters, columnists, editors, news directors, assignment
editors and talk show hosts at all citywide, regional and community
newspapers and television and radio stations. Begin creating one
by asking a friendly local organization or local government agency
for its press list. Other tactics are to scan the local yellow pages
and call every media outlet listed or consult a national media directory
such as Baconís directories or News Media Yellow Book.
2. Get ready
a news event or crisis happens, appoint one person as the official
spokesperson. This does not have to be the president of an organization;
it should be someone who speaks with clarity and is composed under
pressure. A pressroom should be large enough for the typical number
of attendees including chairs for reporters and adequate space for
television cameras. Have easels or tables for visual displays in
the front; position a reception table outside the room as a place
for press sign-in sheets and press packets; and have a podium with
the groupís name and/or logo attached to it. If it is not possible
to maintain a separate room or for outdoor events, create a banner
with the groupís name and logo that can hang behind the spokesperson
be informed about an event at least three to five days in advance.
Give a brief synopsis of what will be covered. Follow up invitations
with phone calls especially to key reporters. If the day will include
a tour, make necessary logistical arrangements. Prepare press packets
that include contact information for the spokesperson, a press release
of the dayís event with carefully scripted quotes from the speaker(s),
and relevant background information such as a history of the group
or project, biographical sketches of key participants, charts or
other statistics or graphic images, a copy of the document being
released or being signed, etc.
yourself like a pro
Just like with
a major speech, take time beforehand to script or at least outline
brief remarks that capture key points. Then remember this advice,
tell the truth. If you do not know an answer to a question, tell
the reporters you will find out. Then make sure you do!
Do not ignore
controversy or downplay bad news. This is your opportunity to communicate
your position and prevent rumors and speculation.
Be cool. Resist
displaying anger at reportersí questions, becoming defensive, or
responding sarcastically. Depending upon the situation, it is appropriate
to show emotions such as enthusiasm, concern, or compassion.
Avoid jargon, speaking-down to the audience, or using too many statistics.
If there is one number-related statement that is powerful and can
be easily and accurately captured by reporters, give it; otherwise
include these types of facts in press packets.