| posted by Joe Hice |

Never screw up on a slow news day!

It has been a little hectic around here the last couple of days (I mean months) and I’m taking the easy way out on the Blog today.  Following you’ll find suggestions on dealing with the media.  I encourage you to share with your deans, directors and department heads and anyone else interested.  Really no magic involved.  Be yourself, be prepared, be honest, be …

It’s been so long I don’t remember where these come from but I think they may be from a friend and media consultant in Sarasota, David Voss.  Thanks David.

Passion Rules!

74 of 100

1.  BE REALISTIC

Time and space limitations

Think news value, not fluff

We need the press

They won’t go away

Understand the press (news values, local philosophy, key players, competition)

2.  BE PREPARED

Increase personal media consciousness and analyze the news

Understand the organizational structure of your media outlets

Keep up-to-date information readily available

Delay if necessary by asking questions (“When is your deadline?”), then do your homework and prepare a message

3.  BE ACCESSIBLE

Work on long-term media relations; they’re really human relations

Return media calls promptly

Avoid “no comment” and over-using confidentiality

4.  BE HONEST

Admit bad news and move on to corrective action

Lying will come back to haunt you

5.  BE QUOTABLE

Use plain English

Put in the public context, use analogies

Try to create a catch phrase or memorable line

Avoid jargon and dangerous subjects that are off your message

Create short list of topics you want to cover

Decide ahead of time what you want people to remember about your interview

Use PAM (Preparing a Message)

1 )Goal; 2) target audience; 3) format; 4) themes and messages

Write your message so it’s relevant and interesting to your target audience.  If you have to explain your message, it’s probably not a very good one.  It’s more important what they hear than what you say.

6.  BE IN CONTROL

Ask questions, as well as answer them

Speak slowly and distinctly

Change your pace when you want to be quoted

Use lists (especially for print media)

Answer with positive, informative statements

Bridge from question to your answer

Avoid personal feuds

End the repetitive questions with phrase, “As I’ve already told you.”

Respond to the “hidden agenda” with dead air. Be quiet!

7.  BE LIKED (especially for TV)

Warm and friendly; meet and greet camera crew; understand procedure

Talk to reporters before going on camera, ask questions about interview

Pretend you’re continuing conversation once the camera starts rolling

Be yourself; don’t sound official, pompous or condescending

Maintain eye contact with reporter, not camera

Open face, not closed face or plain face

Appropriate posture, appearance, clothing, accessories, body language

Speak in short sound bytes, with clear beginning and ending statements

8.  BE INNOVATIVE

Remember your first three B’s, then use them to get press

When you want to be in the news, make sure it is news

Make it cater to the needs of video and photo opportunities

Use trend stories

Use follow-up stories related to existing stories

Provide human interest

Include prominent figures

Make it timely

Give the story to the best person within the news organization

News tips may be better than press releases or press conferences

Get on the right talk shows

9.  BE ASSERTIVE

Volunteer information if appropriate

Detect bias, then provide information and quotes to rebut it

Call the City Editor when there’s a serious complaint

Ask for meetings, such as editorial board, or city editor

Respond when the media get it wrong

Write a rebuttal to editorials, called op-ed column

Fresh angle follow-up to a news story

Use a different side of the press, such as a columnist

Ask for a correction

Write letters to the editor

10.  BE SURE TO REMEMBER NEW MEDIA

Blogs are media too

News travels at light speed

Be ready

Be clear

Be concise

Be fearless

11.  NEVER SCREW UP ON A SLOW NEWS DAY

Understand that news is relative, and use that to your advantage

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2 Responses to “Never screw up on a slow news day!”

  1. Roger Pynn says:

    Great words of wisdom, Joe. And may I add “never push a dog … it is an uphill fight, you’re facing the wrong end and if things turn around it may bite, not to mention an editor will have already bitten your head off.”

  2. Joe Hice says:

    That is so true! We’re expecting snow tomorrow night! Yikes.

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