Capital Chapter Meets the Press
| Written by: Lizzy Kelley, City of Tallahassee
The June FPRA luncheon was one of the best of the year because it covered a topic every PR professional must deal with and understand – the media.
This year’s Meet the Press panel included five local media representatives: Stan Sanders, news director, WCTV; Tom Urban, assignment editor, News Service of Florida; Rebeccah Lutz, managing editor, Tallahassee Democrat; Theresa Marsenburg, news director for Capital Update, The Florida Channel; and Rahman Johnson, anchor/reporter, ABC27. With the variety of job duties, career lengths and tenures in the local market, the panel was able to provide a well-rounded view of our local media scene and the changing media landscape overall.
Below are some of the key topics that panelists discussed and tips on how to interact with the media and earn coverage:
The New Face of Media
When targeting the media, think broader. Most of the media outlets now have multiple platforms. You can’t simply think about what will appear in print or on the news. Think about how they can translate your story for print, digital, video, social media and more. Remember that they, too, are doing more with less. Try to make it easy for them to cover your story.
Notice and Follow Up
If you do nothing else, do this – get the media your information in a timely fashion. It takes time to plan, research and develop a solid story. Put pertinent information at the top of your news release. Hit the main points then follow with details. Remember when writing your release that the details let you provide a potential story angle.
Send one reminder about time sensitive items a day or two prior. Do not do it incessantly. Do not do it at air time, deadline or the very end of the day. Do not do it five minutes before the event.
Additionally, when you’re doing follow up on a release about an event, do not ask the media rep to confirm his or her outlet’s attendance. News changes by the minute, and they don’t want to make you a promise they can’t keep.
If something is factually incorrect, let them know. Across the board, the panelists agreed that their No. 1 goal is providing accurate information.
If you do not like the angle of a story, do not ask for a correction. There is nothing to correct. This is a good opportunity though for you to pitch them supplemental stories. Maybe you have a contact, piece of data or angle they didn’t know about. Share it. You might get a second story that is more to your liking.
Think beyond the talking head. How else can you communicate your message visually?
Pay attention to the big topics of the day both nationally and locally. How can you tie your message into a larger trend to give the local media a hook?
Make people available for interviews. If you’re putting out a release or having an event about a topic, be sure you have someone ready and able to talk about it.
A special thanks to all of our panelists for taking the time to share their insights with our Chapter!