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Dealing with the Press - Introduction to Journalism
Transcript of Dealing with the Press - Introduction to Journalism
Write two press releases, to be sent to local news outlets.
Press release 1: Your immediate response to the story on the BBC Website.
Press release 2: Scheduled for a month later. Think about ways that you could go about restoring the company’s good name.
Note the guidance on writing press releases in this lecture.
30% of your final marks
Two press releases
- approx. 300 words each
Summary of actions - 400 words
Total: 1000 words
Deadline: Midnight, 4 May
What steps you would take in order to influence the press so that the company’s good name survives this PR disaster?
- What would you do?
- Why would you do it?
- What do you expect the result would be?
Who would you contact, and what would you tell them?
Refer to one or two other PR disasters that back up your case
(see readings, next week's lecture).
Information in the body of the e-mail
Tidy and readable - easy to read fonts
Often what is published is a matter of chance
Weekly papers - (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Daily papers - Evening
Radio/TV - Main bulletins
Internet - First thing / Lunch time
What is going to make people
read your story?
It's the audience that's important.
Who's who in the company?
Research or statistics to support your claims
A plethora of pictures
Pre-written press releases for negative eventualities
No one else gets the news
Consolidates your contact
“... anyone coming into public relations should make their first task that of visiting a newspaper, talking to the journalists and finding out how they work and what they require from the public relations person.
“I’m continually annoyed at the lack of understanding of a journalist’s job by some public relations people.”
- Jim Dunn,
Successful Public Relations
What if there's
nothing new to say?
Tenuously attach yourself
to another news story
It's better to be quoted second,
than not at all
Also useful for burying bad news!
Quick and easy to distribute
Convenient for the PR officer and the journalist
Stop the journalist digging
Easy to keep the information
Control the message word-for-word
Easy to control the timing
Hundreds arrive every day
Everyone gets them
Tendency to send lots in the hope one sticks
Careful businesses equal boring press releases
If it's a big story, the journalist will dig anyway
Make sure everyone who needs to see the press release has seen it before it is sent
Hindering the journalist isn't the answer!
The importance of the press to PR
"Notwithstanding what some in the PR industry like to say, media relations remains the core skill of public relations... It is the PR person who is left to pitch the story to the sceptical journalist, or to take that difficult call when the media have uncovered a damaging story. It is a role that the people who run big organisations value. It is no accident that so many of PR's top figures - and highest earners - are known for their media handling abilities."
- Trevor Morris & Simon Goldsworthy,
More important than ever?
Fewer, busier, journalists
Free advertising on-line
press want good PR
Who is the audience?
What will be of interest to them?
How much do they know?
Local - popular - specialised.
Who do they trust?
Pick a Pic
Talking to the Press
Turn the negative positive
“This issue will only make Lululemon that much stronger because they will pay even more attention to detail. This company strives on separating themselves from not just being good, but being great.”
The PR officer
wants good news
wants bad news
The Information Trade
(How much news is there?)
Read/watch/listen to everything
- What are they saying about you?
- What are they saying about your competitors?
- What issues do different media give space to?
- What journalists/editors were responsible
for these stories?
Reward and Punish
Exclusive news Access to bosses / celebs
(more effective with big businesses)
Complain to editors / managers
Threaten the law
Give another journalist the bad news
Undermine a story by briefing another journalist
You need a balance
- or journalists will hate you!
The News Pyramid
As little adaptation as possible -
leads to loss of message / questions
Short - 300/800 words
How to talk to a journalist
"I believe this story would be of interest to your kind of paper / magazine, etc..."
"I read your very interesting article this morning,
and thought this could develop the story..."
"Didn't you get the press release?
Why isn't it up on the website?"
Explain the story straight away - no faffing
Keep it short and simple
Send an e-mail afterwards as a reminder
News loses its shine
Gives them a chance to dig
Based on trust
Emphasize 3/4 important points
Let the journalist explain their understanding
- correct misapprehensions
Admit the negative but accentuate the positive
Repeat - memory as important as notes
Only the PR officer should talk to the press!
- train bosses
Be available at all hours
Strike preemptively -
Get your narrative into
What kind of pictures do they use?
Big pics - slow message
A good choice of pictures (vertical and horizontal)
Explain the pictures
More choice on the website
Video / audio (big stories)
How do you make sure everyone can publish together?
Conflict for the sake of it
A chance to talk directly to the audience
Less credibility - refer to a 3rd party
PR: Dealing with the Press
Part I: Assignment #3
Part II: The Press and PR
Part III: The Press Release
Part IV: Talking to the Press
About People Effects People
Effects people like your audience
Celebs Good quotes
(Crime, Violence, Bad News, Conflict)
You've been hired by Bangor Food Ltd. to restore their company’s good name.
Story on BBC Website:
Approx. 300 words each