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Media Relations Class

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A class for government employees to learn how to deal with the media.

A class for government employees to learn how to deal with the media.


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  • 1. WHY IS THERE A REPORTER IN THE LOBBY? Media Relations for Employees of Palm Beach County
  • 2. MEDIA RELATIONS 101  Media Relations  County Policies  The Ten Commandments  The Interview
  • 3. MEDIA RELATIONS DEFINED How we as individuals and collectively as a County interact with the media. Our daily actions are accountable to the public. It is this accountability the media pursue when reporting our activities.
  • 4. GOOD MEDIA RELATIONS IS GOOD BUSINESS One responsibility of government is to communicate with residents about city services and issues that may affect their lives. One of the best ways to communicate is through the media; therefore, an important role of government is to establish working relationships with the media that make communication more efficient and effective. We see media relations as a partnership.
  • 5. MEDIA RELATIONS…HOT!!! Keep it HOT!!! Honest Open Timely
  • 6. WHY WE NEED THE MEDIA in times of crisis Inform awareness of County services Increase new residents/businesses Attract understanding of County policy Provide proactive image of the County Convey
  • 7. MEDIA GUIDELINES at liberty to speak with media Employees Those who do speak represent the County, not themselves Information should reflect policy Keep personal views personal Follow up with email to staff and/or Public Affairs and your supervisor
  • 8. COUNTY POLICY County PPM CW-0-011 Purpose of County’s media relations policies and program: Ensure the accuracy of the information released  Assure no preferential treatment is given to  one reporter Avoid dissemination of conflicting information  Minimize the adverse effects of rumors 
  • 9. MEDIA RELATIONS PHILOSOPHY  We are responsive; we talk to the media  We are an open book  We tell the truth  We are polite  We correct mistakes  We do not “blacklist”  We do not go “off the record”
  • 10. MEDIA RELATIONS PHILOSOPHY  We recognize the media is just one way to talk to our community  We understand the value of free publicity  We can’t be perfect  What we give to one, we give to all
  • 11. THE 10 COMMANDMENTS THOU SHALL NOT… I Mislead II Lie III Misrepresent IV Break the confidence of the reporter V Clutter the media with useless info
  • 12. THE 10 COMMANDMENTS THOU SHALL NOT… VI Write or speak evasively VII Give inaccurate information VIII Hide when news is bad IX Pester the media with your story X Repeat the negative
  • 13. WHAT IS NEWS? Informative Educational Timely Significant Unique Interesting human interest Of Whatever you can convince a reporter it is
  • 14. MEDIA TOOLS Press Release – factual information Photo Opportunity – notification of visual event Media Advisory – notify the media of an immediate event
  • 15. MEDIA TOOLS Fact sheet – attached to news release; helpful when there are a lot of statistics or complicated information. News conference – to announce significant or breaking news. List speakers. Record questions that need to be answered at a later time.
  • 16. WRITING A NEWS RELEASE  Use a descriptive headline -make your release stand out -action oriented headline -avoid over capitalization  Most important information first -Who, What, Where (including address),When, Why, How?
  • 17. WRITING A NEWS RELEASE  Anticipate reporters’ questions  Minimize use of jargon -attribute acronyms in first reference  When possible add a quote  Two pages or less
  • 18. WRITING A NEWS RELEASE  Includecontact information -should be familiar with the release and ready to answer questions  Proofread - A.P. Stylebook (abbreviation, punctuation, capitalization) - verify spelling of names and verify correct titles
  • 19. WRITING A NEWS RELEASE  Timely,timely, timely - for planned events, send a couple of days before - send the news the day it happens  Number pages, mark the end (###)  Marketing vs. News Release
  • 20. UNIQUENESS OF NEWS a new product every single day Publish by deadlines; relentless scramble Driven against the clock time to research and check all the facts Little to represent all sides to a story Tough of news hole varies daily, advertising Size dependant
  • 21. THE NEWS RELEASE is the FIRST word in the term news release “News” of releases received daily – most discarded Volume of releases – accuracy, simplicity and clarity Quality listed information contacts Have will not necessarily appear exactly as written It
  • 22. PUBLIC PERCEPTION VS PUBLIC REALITIES overstaffed and underworked County paid with 4 billion dollar budget Well new working facilities Nice, more than 40 hour work week No a good job or just meeting expectations Doing
  • 23. PUBLIC PERCEPTION VS REPORTERS are even more: Reporters Cynical Suspicious to have watchdog role Likely to hold government accountable Likely
  • 24. THE INTERVIEW •Preparation •Tips
  • 25. WHAT IS AN INTERVIEW? An interview is not a simple conversation  Fact finding exercise to collect information,  insight, interesting viewpoint not commonly known Casual approach used to disarm…who?  Reporter monitors everything said, unsaid  Observes gestures, tone of voice 
  • 26. INTERVIEW APPROACHES: FUNNEL This is the most common of all question sequences  for all types of interviews. In this sequence, the interviewer begins with  broad, open-ended questions and moves to more narrow, closed-ended questions. The interviewer may also begin with more general  questions and gradually ask more specific questions.
  • 27. INTERVIEW APPROACHES: INVERTED FUNNEL This question sequence is effective when an  interviewee needs help remembering something or to motivate an interviewee to talk. In this sequence, the interviewer begins with  narrow, closed-ended questions and moves to more broad, open-ended questions. The interviewer may also begin with more specific  questions and gradually ask more general questions.
  • 28. INTERVIEW APPROACHES: DIAMOND The Diamond question sequence combines the  Funnel and Inverted Funnel sequences. Used when dealing with topics interviewees may  find painful or difficult and therefore are reluctant to discuss. Begin with specific, closed-ended questions  about a situation similar to the interviewee's, then ask general, open-ended questions about the interview, and finally ask specific, closed-ended questions.
  • 29. INTERVIEW APPROACHES: TUNNEL In this sequence, all questions have the same  degree of openness. Also called the quot;string of beadsquot; questions  sequence, the Tunnel sequence allows for little probing and variation in question structure. It can be useful for simple, surface information  interviews, but not for in-depth interviews.
  • 30. WHO SHOULD SPEAK? Credibility index (average: 61.5) Supreme Court Justice: 81.3   Member of the Armed Forces: 73.0  Ordinary citizen: 71.8  Network TV news anchor: 66.8  Local news reporter: 65.8  Local elected official: 65.2 (PBC 40% ???)  Head of a local department: 62.9  Public relations specialist: 47.6  TV or radio talk show host: 46.6
  • 31. REPORTER TECHNIQUES  Repeated question  Either/or  Hypothetical/What if…  False facts  Interruptions  Silence  Critics say…
  • 32. TYPES OF INTERVIEW STORIES  Straight news  News feature  Profile  Investigative
  • 33. THE INTERVIEW: PREPARATION  What are the goals of the interview?  What will the tone be?  What are your key messages?  Do your homework!  Prepare background information  Rehearse…call staff
  • 34. THE INTERVIEW: TIPS  Answer the question!  Share your message early and often  Avoid jargon  Remember: you are talking to residents  Be friendly & courteous  Silence is golden
  • 35. THE INTERVIEW: TIPS  Keep your cool  Bridging  Don’t repeat the negative  Never “off the record”  Never “no comment”
  • 36. THE INTERVIEW: TIPS – hear the whole question.  Listen Understand it. Clarify if needed. – Select key points. Keep eyes up.  Pause – Give direct answer first. Give  Present support explanation. Stop when you’ve answered the question to your satisfaction.
  • 37. THE INTERVIEW: FAILURES If you fail to:  Take charge  Anticipate questions  Develop key messages  Stick to the facts  Keep calm  Take the interview seriously
  • 38. TV TIPS  Assume the camera is always running  Speak clearly, concisely  Look at the reporter, not the camera  Know your key messages  Dress conservatively  Avoid contrasts in color; no sunglasses
  • 39. RADIO TIPS  Ask if the interview will be live or on tape  Use conversational tone  Speak concisely  Don’t ramble. Don’t try to fill “dead air”
  • 40. TIPS FROM REPORTERS  Use media as a communications tool  Use media to “straighten the record”  If County is open and helpful, stories will be more positive  If County is not open, stories will be more negative  Reporters want access to people and information
  • 41. WHAT REPORTERS WANT  The elements of news  Sometimes, just the facts  What’s not said  What you know right now  To scoop the competition  To get the story straight  To feed the beast
  • 42. TO CORRECT OR NOT CORRECT  Isit important enough?  How damaging is the error?  Do nothing  Ask for a clarification, correction, etc.  Talk to the reporter  Talk to a supervisor  Go to the competition
  • 43. TO CORRECT OR NOT CORRECT Correction: Usually a factual error. Your goal is  to have the correct information printed or aired. Clarification: Conflicting or confusing  information was originally presented and this clears it up. Omission: Something relevant to the story  (usually a fact or name) was left out and is now included. Retraction: To some media outlets, this is a legal  term. On advice of legal counsel, the outlet admits an error and apologizes. This is usually done in a large box marked “Retraction” placed where the original was.
  • 44. ALWAYS REMEMBER… If the media doesn’t get the facts from you, they will get the “story” from someone else.
  • 45. AND… If you help the media when they call you, they will help you when you call them.
  • 46. USEFUL PUBLICATIONS
  • 47. USEFUL PUBLICATIONS
  • 48. INTERESTING VIDEO Anchor Hates Reporter 
  • 49. QUESTIONS