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What nonspokespersons should do when the media call

You're not a spokesperson for your organization, but there are times when you will pick up the phone and find a reporter at the other end of the line. What should you do? 1. Screening calls The first thing you must do is establish whether, inde...More

Writing a news release

1. Be focused, lively and brief (500 words maximum). 2. Avoid jargon - but if you've got to use it, explain it. 3. The lead paragraph must:

  • Contain the most newsworthy information;
  • Contain at least one high-priority...More

How to prepare for your news release: The Critical Path

Follow this eight-step Critical Path to identify the messages that you want to include in the release and to establish the foundation for evaluating the newsworthiness of the topic. 1. Identify your organization's goals and objectives. 2. Ide...More

What makes a story newsworthy

News is to the media as key messages are to you: They are bits of information designed to influence key publics. In the case of the media, they key publics are potential viewers, listeners, readers and advertisers. The purpose of news (i.e., of the m...More

How to format a news release

  • Write the release on your organization's letterhead or special news release letterhead containing your organization's name, address and telephone number.
  • Place "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE"(appropriate embargo) at upper left-ha...More

Axioms for effective media interviews - Part II

The following tips will be helpful when added to the information contained in all earlier Media Tips. You can view them by clicking here. The following three "axioms" of media interviews - and the four axioms contained in last week's Media Tip - a...More

Axioms for effective media interviews - Part 1

There is no doubt that the literal meaning of the words you use in a media interview will have an effect on the reporter and other publics you are trying to reach. But equally, if not more, important are the meanings conveyed by your nonverbal commun...More

Special tips for interviews with radio reporters

The following tips will be helpful when added to the information contained in all earlier Media Tips. You can view them by clicking here . In the meantime, here are the special tips for interviews with radio reporters. 1. When giving the inte...More

Special tips for interviews with print reporters

The reporter is more than a static conduit that carries your messages to the publics you are trying to influence. He or she is an interpreter of the literal meaning of your words and of whether your words are truthful and your information balanced an...More

Special tips for television interviews

Because the television camera picks up even the smallest detail, how people perceive you, your organization and your message will depend not only on what you say, but also on how you say it, how you look and how you act. Follow these tips to ensure t...More

The Critical Path - how to prepare for media interviews

Follow this six-step Critical Path for establishing and adhering to your own agenda in any type of interview situation with any type of reporter: 1. Identify the specific organizational objectives - such as increasing market share, earnings or r...More

What to tell the media when disaster strikes

The goal of crisis communications is to prevent a crisis from becoming a public relations disaster. The following tips will give you a head start in attaining that goal: Respond quickly and helpfully to all media enquiries. Silence on your part ...More

How to field difficult questions - Part III

Don't get unnerved if the reporter repeatedly asks the same question - if the question is the same, so is the answer. Don't get penned in by the way the reporter phrases a question - answer by giving what you regard as the relevant facts amplified...More

How to field difficult questions - Part II

Don't run on - when you've given the answer you want, stop talking. Spokespersons most often make their biggest mistakes when they impulsively add something to their answers, usually because they believe the reporter wasn't satisfied with the origina...More

How to field difficult questions - Part I

Follow these suggestions and you will be the master of every media encounter: The interview begins the moment you utter your first word, so make sure that everything you say - from "hello" to "good-bye" - follows your agenda. Maintain eye co...More

How to end a news conference

Ideally, a news conference ends itself. That is, the reporters just stop asking questions. When this happens, the spokesperson - or the PR person, if he or she is acting as "host" or "hostess" - thanks everyone for attending. Life, however, isn't ...More

How to conduct your news conference

Now that you've set up the room properly (so that reporters, photographers and video cameras won't get in each other's way; everyone will have a good view of the speaker, and public address and lighting systems are up to professional standards) you c...More

News conferences: How to set up the room

Now that you've decided to hold a news conference (on the basis of the criteria discussed in When to hold a news conference, you ought to do it right. That means setting up the room to prevent the angry confron...More

When to hold a news conference

News conferences are fraught with danger. Demonstrators or hecklers will steal the thunder of your message and grab the spotlight on the 6 o'clock news. A reporter with an axe to grind may harp on negative issues, which will then be reported by the o...More

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