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Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
Dealing with the Press
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Dealing with the Press

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  • 1. Dealing with Media: How to Survive a Media Encounter with your Professionalism Intact
  • 2. Commit to memory: <ul><li>“ Four hostile newspapers are to be more feared than 1000 bayonets” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Napoleon Bonaparte </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 3. First and Foremost <ul><li>A news interview is your opportunity to tell your story to a LOT of people. </li></ul><ul><li>Media carries with it status conferral . </li></ul><ul><li>Almost all interviews are “soft.” </li></ul><ul><li>Do NOT treat the reporter like the enemy , or he/she may become one. </li></ul><ul><li>NEVER FORGET : What you look like to the reporter, you will look like to the masses! </li></ul>
  • 4. When a Reporter Calls: <ul><li>Be polite , but too busy to talk. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask what info the reporter is looking for, and how you can help. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask the reporter’s deadline . </li></ul><ul><li>Obtain the reporter’s phone number. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell them you will call back . </li></ul><ul><li>Hang up.!! </li></ul><ul><li>Verify his/her news outlet. </li></ul>
  • 5. Once off the phone: <ul><li>Review the requested info. </li></ul><ul><li>Check your files for related information. </li></ul><ul><li>Call others to see if they have been contacted and, if so, how they responded. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for the “hook.” </li></ul><ul><li>Think of other info the reporter might need or use. </li></ul><ul><li>Make a list of possible questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop answers to the questions. </li></ul><ul><li>List a message point or two you want to get across </li></ul><ul><li>Call the reporter back. </li></ul>
  • 6. At this point: <ul><li>The game is about control . </li></ul><ul><li>Remember no matter how well you may know him or her, the reporter is a reporter, NOT your friend. </li></ul><ul><li>Become a resource! </li></ul><ul><li>Yours should be an equal business relationship. </li></ul>
  • 7. Print & Broadcast Nuances <ul><li>Print Reporters: </li></ul><ul><li>* Have more time to “work” the story </li></ul><ul><li>* Love facts, figures, anecdotes </li></ul><ul><li>* Will generally ask better, more probing questions </li></ul><ul><li>* Will have done more homework </li></ul><ul><li>Radio/Television Reporters: </li></ul><ul><li>* Are there mainly for the sound bite </li></ul><ul><li>* Are always pressed for time </li></ul><ul><li>* Don’t like complicated, detailed answers </li></ul>
  • 8. During the Interview: <ul><li>LISTEN carefully to the questions! </li></ul><ul><li>LISTEN more carefully to your answers! </li></ul><ul><li>LISTEN for “hot” or “loaded” words. </li></ul><ul><li>LISTEN for hypotheticals </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t know an answer, say so. </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t know but you should , offer to look it up and call back. </li></ul><ul><li>Take and maintain CONTROL! </li></ul>
  • 9. A Word about Sound bites: <ul><li>Sound bite: A 9 – 15 second statement that answers the question completely. </li></ul><ul><li>Both print and electronic reporters love them. </li></ul><ul><li>Not all answers can be sound bites!- just warn the reporter </li></ul><ul><li>Sound bite answers help address the “out of context” problem </li></ul><ul><li>Like them or not, for the foreseeable future, sound bites are here to stay. </li></ul>
  • 10. Some Tips to Remember : <ul><li>1 . One word answers make lousy sound bites! </li></ul><ul><li>2. Don’t be in intimidated when the reporter makes specific references to things in your field </li></ul><ul><li>3. Maintain eye contact with the reporter, not the camera. </li></ul><ul><li>4.Take time to think before you answer . </li></ul><ul><li>5. Be aware of the background! </li></ul>
  • 11. Message Points: <ul><li>Definition: A positive piece of information you’d like to see in the story. </li></ul><ul><li>You should always have one, two, or three main messages that you want to get through to the reporter during the interview. </li></ul><ul><li>Watch for – or create – opportunities to bring up your message points as the interview is going on. </li></ul><ul><li>Try to be subtle! </li></ul>
  • 12. NEVER..and I mean EVER!!! <ul><li>Lie. </li></ul><ul><li>Get Angry . </li></ul><ul><li>Respond for someone else. </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to facts or statements provided by the reporter </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer information </li></ul><ul><li>Use industry jargon </li></ul><ul><li>Say “No comment!” </li></ul><ul><li>Interrupt the reporter when he/she is asking you a question. </li></ul>
  • 13. Deadlines: <ul><li>Reporters are always on deadline! </li></ul><ul><li>Deadlines are the reporter's problem , not yours. </li></ul><ul><li>HOWEVER: If you can meet the reporter’s deadline, do it! </li></ul><ul><li>Under no circumstances give any response with which you are not comfortable just to help them make deadline!! </li></ul><ul><li>Reporters would rather have no information than bad information . </li></ul>
  • 14. The Language of the field: <ul><li>“ Attribution.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ According to John Smith, farm manager at Smith Farms, last night’s freeze will not damage the area’s vegetable crop.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Background.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ According to farmers, last night’s freeze will not damage the area’s vegetable crop.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Off the record.” </li></ul>
  • 15. Regarding “Off the record” <ul><li>It’s a serious gamble . </li></ul><ul><li>It involves more than just the reporter! </li></ul><ul><li>Best to avoid. </li></ul><ul><li>“ If you don’t want to see it in print, don’t say it! </li></ul>
  • 16. Some things to note. . . . . <ul><li>Once a reporter leaves, its their story. </li></ul><ul><li>Reporters are generalists: Teach them! </li></ul><ul><li>Stay in your role. </li></ul><ul><li>The interview is always going on. </li></ul><ul><li>Better to be a part of the story than not. </li></ul>
  • 17. The Bottom Line: <ul><li>You can do everything right in the news interview situation and it can still blow up in your face; there is always a degree of risk involved. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn to be okay with silence . </li></ul><ul><li>Be calm – Don’t talk until you’re ready – shut up when you’re done! </li></ul>

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