Advice On Dealing With the Media

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Advice On Dealing With the Media

  1. 1. Advice on Dealing with the Media Florida School Boards Association 2012
  2. 2. The Importance of Public Relations In an educational environment public relations has been defined as “ A planned and systematic, two- way process of communication intended to encourage public involvement and to earn public understanding and support.” The National School Public Relations Association
  3. 3. The Importance of Public Relations If school board members don’t speak up for themselves, others will -- and public opinion will be out of control. It is up to YOU to influence public opinion. You face increased news media scrutiny, increased competition and rampant cynicism about the economy, government and the integrity of business.
  4. 4. The Importance of Public Relations Keep in mind that there are different groups of people that have different interests in what happens in schools. Internal Public External Public
  5. 5. Internal Public • Administrators/Principals • Teachers • Paraprofessionals • Secretaries • Support Personnel • Bus Drivers • Maintenance Workers • Cafeteria Workers • Students These are people directly associated with the school system.
  6. 6. External Public • Parents • Businesses • Civic Groups • Elected Officials • Media • Government Agencies • Non-Parents These are the people who are outside the school family.
  7. 7. The Importance of Public Relations • Effective communication with the various publics can be through mass communication or interpersonal contact. • Face-to-face communication is generally considered to be the best way to bring about a change in attitude.
  8. 8. The Importance of Public Relations The definition of communication includes public relations, community relations, government advocacy and media relations. As a school board member you are involved in each of these.
  9. 9. This can’t be YOU!
  10. 10. Ask Yourself.. Does your school board have public relations and communications policies and plans?
  11. 11. Remember…
  12. 12. Media Relations Developing a good working relationship with the media is a key step in increasing the community’s understanding and support for public education.
  13. 13. Media Relations The news media has the responsibility to tell the public what is happening in their community. It needs your information to inform the public and to make money. YOU need the media to transmit your information and gain public approval and credibility. Both can be achieved.
  14. 14. Media Relations Education is news and will be reported with or with or without the assistance of the school district. Helping a reporter obtain news about the school system increases understanding.
  15. 15. Media Relations Newspapers, radio and television can be effective communication channels • To increase awareness of district programs, services and accomplishments; • To reinforce the importance of the contributions of various partners in education:
  16. 16. Media Relations • To win public support for educational causes or issues; • To build the school district’s public image; and • To foster pride in staff, students and their families.
  17. 17. Media Relations • Every public relations professional has a list of time-tested tips for working with the media. There is probably someone in your district or community who can offer you advice on this subject.
  18. 18. Media Relations
  19. 19. Understand the News Business • The business of the news is controversy.
  20. 20. Understand the News Business. • The single most important factor in working with reporters is your personal working relationship. • The news media is not your public relations department. • Know the difference between “news” and “entertainment”. • Don’t ask to see a story before it is printed and don’t ask for copies.
  21. 21. Media Relations • Anticipate stories. State and national stories generate local angles. • Be sure the appropriate people are informed about the story and your comments. • Be available. • Use a news release or “script” when necessary. • Understand confidentiality implications, particularly on staff and student issues. • Refer reporters to the best information source whenever possible.
  22. 22. Strategies and Tactics • Avoid responding to “what if?” questions. • Become informed BEFORE commenting.
  23. 23. Strategies and Tactics • Get the school’s story out first, especially when it is bad news. • Know the two or three points you want to make and weave them into your responses. • Avoid saying
  24. 24. Strategies and Tactics • Be careful when expressing an opinion. Don’t guess what other’s reactions might be. • Don’t play favorites with reporters.
  25. 25. Working With Reporters Be confident. You know more about the topic than the reporter does.
  26. 26. • Never go “off the record”. There is no such thing.
  27. 27. • Call back in 10 minutes rather than “shoot from the lip.”
  28. 28. Working With Reporters • Be honest and accurate. Don’t try to fake it. • Avoid being flip, humorous or sarcastic. That dog will come back to bite you.
  29. 29. Be clear, simple and brief in your answers.
  30. 30. Working With Reporters • Avoid jargon and condescending remarks. • Beware of the “killer pause”. Just because its quiet doesn’t mean you need to fill the silence. • Be willing to admit mistakes and problems.
  31. 31. Working with Reporters • Compliment reporters for a job well done. • Think like a reporter. • Never lie.
  32. 32. Handling Problems Resist the urge to send letters to the editor.
  33. 33. Handling Problems • Generally, don’t complain about a story. If you do complain, do it tactfully and through appropriate channels. • Never tell a reporter WHAT to report or HOW to report a story.
  34. 34. Handling Problems Remember that the news media ALWAYS has the last word.
  35. 35. Ask Yourself In what ways can I improve the methods in which I communicate with the media? Does your board have a media policy? Are you helping improve the image of your school system through your interactions with the media?
  36. 36. The Interview
  37. 37. How to Have a Good Interview Find out what the reporter is after, the slant of the story and the names of the other people being interviewed. Now you know the audience and the context!!
  38. 38. Think about your subject BEFORE the interview. Make every attempt to find out the answer to any questions you may have or facts you are unsure about. How to Have a Good Interview
  39. 39. How to Have a Good Interview Pause before answering each question. This gives you time to decide if you have an appropriate statement.
  40. 40. How to Have a Good Interview Keep your answers brief. Too much information can confuse the reporter. Be sure you focus on the main point of your message.
  41. 41. How to Have a Good Interview Admit if you don’t know the answer. “I don’t know is a legitimate response. You should say that you will find out the answer and call back.
  42. 42. How to Have a Good Interview Some reporters may ask you something like “Would you say”….or “In your opinion”….and then offer an idea for your agreement or disagreement. Make your own statement instead of following the reporters agenda. Make sure your response is YOUR response!
  43. 43. How to Have a Good Interview In controversial situations ask for help. When questions make you uncomfortable, point the reporter in the direction of district staff who may be better prepared to respond.
  44. 44. How to Have a Good Interview • Avoid using jargon. Speak in terms that the reporter and the reader/listener can understand. NCLB ELL EOC FSBA
  45. 45. Television Interviews When preparing for a television interview, the National Association of Broadcasters has some helpful hints. Avoid wearing large prints and patterns or pinstripes.
  46. 46. This is more like it!
  47. 47. Avoid loud and overwhelming ties.
  48. 48. Much better!
  49. 49. Still too much……
  50. 50. Perfect!
  51. 51. You can’t lose with a blazer or jacket, pastel or off-white shirts and blouses. Solid colors work best, but avoid black and white.
  52. 52. Now that you look good, choose a comfortable location, such as your office or the school board conference room for the interview.
  53. 53. When asked a question…
  54. 54. If you mess up…
  55. 55. Ask the reporter to start again.
  56. 56. Look the reporter squarely in the eyes.
  57. 57. Always have a list of points that you want to make.
  58. 58. Keep your responses positive Don’t repeat the negative words from a reporter’s question.
  59. 59. Be ready to state the essence of your message in 15 words or less. Broadcast journalists are looking for short sound bites.
  60. 60. Start by using the name of the interviewer and a greeting. This will make you sound friendly and comfortable.
  61. 61. Over exaggeration is the same as a lie.
  62. 62. Make every effort to end the interview sounding strong and confident.
  63. 63. Practice makes Perfect!
  64. 64. Ask Yourself Is there anything that you can improve on when doing interviews for your district? REMEMBER
  65. 65. Remember that cooperation is almost always preferable to confrontation when dealing with the media. You should be open and helpful in bad times as well as good, but there may be a time when it is necessary to restrict or deny access.
  66. 66. You may want to say “NO” when….. the media’s presence would truly disrupt your operation.
  67. 67. You may want to say “NO” when… the story topic has nothing to do with your organization, and the media could interview elsewhere. Remember…controversy sells!
  68. 68. You may want to say “NO” when… The media interviews would invade privacy or exacerbate a very delicate situation.
  69. 69. Student Records and Information
  70. 70. Student Records and information Student records (grades, transcripts, testing, etc.) ARE NOT considered part of the public record according to Florida law.
  71. 71. When in doubt…..err on the side of caution!
  72. 72. Promote the great things your students are doing! Take advantage of news media’s slow news days. The best time to generate coverage is on a Monday or Tuesday! The most difficult day to get coverage is on a Friday.
  73. 73. Student Records and Information Accountability for student performance is at an all time high. Be informed! Be honest! Accept the blame if needed and offer a solution!
  74. 74. As you conduct your interview, always remember WHO you serve!
  75. 75. Think about this……
  76. 76. “For a politician to complain about the media is like a ship’s captain complaining about the sea.” Enoch Powell
  77. 77. “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” Thomas Jefferson
  78. 78. There is a terrific disadvantage in not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily. Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn't write it, and even though we disapprove, there isn't any doubt that we could not do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press. John F. Kennedy
  79. 79. There are only two forces that can carry light to all the corners of the globe... the sun in the heavens and the Associated Press down here. Mark Twain
  80. 80. We need the media and the media needs us. Cultivate this relationship
  81. 81. Ask Yourself How do I view the media? Do I cultivate a positive relationship with the media? Do I work to promote the positive newsworthy events in my school district?
  82. 82. Social Media
  83. 83. Social Media • Social media is a broader concept than social networking, though people often put them together — it refers generally to content that is created by random internet users rather than by a central person or group. YouTube and Wikipedia are great examples of sites built on social media concepts, as are blogs that allow comments.
  84. 84. Social Media • Social media technologies take on many different forms including magazines, Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microblogging, wikis, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, and social bookmarking.
  85. 85. Social Media • Social media was prevalent in the 2008 campaign for president. All the major campaigns had Facebook Groups for and against them; all had blogs building them up and cutting them down.
  86. 86. Social Media It is important that you as an elected official police what is posted on the internet. Often times someone who wishes to help you can damage your campaign or simply your reputation by what they post. The best you can do is make the request that all videos, blogs etc. be approved by you!
  87. 87. Social Networking Statistics show 93% of Internet users expect politicians to have a presence online.
  88. 88. Social Networking With over 500 million users, Facebook is now used by 1 in every 13 people on earth, with over 250 million of them (over 50%) who log in every day. The average user still has about 130 friends, but that should expand in 2011.
  89. 89. Social Networking 48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up, with 28% doing so before even getting out of bed.
  90. 90. Social Networking The 35+ demographic is growing rapidly, now with over 30% of the entire Facebook user base. The core 18-24 year old segment is now growing the fastest at 74% year on year. Almost 72% of all US internet users are now on Facebook. 70% of the entire user base is located outside of the US.
  91. 91. Social Networking Over 200 million people access Facebook via their mobile phone. Meanwhile, in just 20 minutes on Facebook over 1 million links are shared, 2 million friend requests are accepted and almost 3 million messages are sent.
  92. 92. 48% of young people said they now get their news through Facebook.
  93. 93. Social Networking Statistics show that politicians must utilize social media to get their message out to the masses, but be smart. Use these helpful tips as you tweet, blog or email.
  94. 94. 1. Be candid In the information age, transparency is very important. Be sure the message that you send can be verified.
  95. 95. 2. But be careful what you say about others. When Leslie Richard, owner of a North Carolina clothing company, described Vision Media Television as a “scam,” she was slapped with a $20 million dollar law suit. While your posts may not lead to a lawsuit, it’s best to steer clear of name-calling.
  96. 96. 3. Interact with visitors Just putting a blog or a Facebook fan page won’t do much good if visitors sense he flow of information only goes one way.
  97. 97. 4. See what people are saying about you A quick search for mentions of you on Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp can yield a goldmine of information concerning your reputation. Several users on Yelp, for instance, suggested that employees at Quimby's Bookstore in Chicago were less than welcoming. After reading the comments, owner Eric Kirsammer focused on improving customer service.
  98. 98. 5. Make amends with dissatisfied constituents quickly
  99. 99. 6. Don't go on the defensive. Resist the temptation to lash out in public. If there is a response that needs to be made, do so privately.
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