Finding And Generating News


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This lecture focuses on how PR practitioners can better understand the role and paradigm of the journalists they pitch.

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Finding And Generating News

  1. 1. Finding and Generating News PR 313
  2. 2. Dealing with Gatekeepers <ul><li>You may control the presentation of your press campaign, but you can’t control how it is used by journalists </li></ul>
  3. 3. Media Gatekeepers <ul><li>Journalists are flooding by PR reps </li></ul><ul><li>How do you break through the clutter? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Trading Spaces <ul><li>Put yourself in the position of the journalist </li></ul><ul><li>What will you respond to? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the challenges you face? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Some challenges <ul><li>Limited space </li></ul><ul><li>Limited time </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure to be correct </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure to be “fair and balanced” </li></ul><ul><li>Desire to tell the “truth” </li></ul><ul><li>Information overload </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive pressure </li></ul>
  6. 6. What can you do? <ul><li>Target your campaigns intelligently </li></ul><ul><li>Shape your pitch so that it conforms with what the public and media will respond well to </li></ul><ul><li>Be a student of psychology and human behavior </li></ul>
  7. 7. Helping the Writer <ul><li>By helping the writer/editor acquire the information, the PR person is directly involved in the research for the story </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In some cases, this can help “spin” the story in a direction desired by the PR company </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Inside the Mind of the Journalist <ul><li>Journalists look for the following criteria when determining “what is news” </li></ul>
  9. 9. What is Newsworthy? <ul><li>Timeliness </li></ul><ul><li>Prominence </li></ul><ul><li>Proximity </li></ul><ul><li>Significance </li></ul><ul><li>Unusualness </li></ul><ul><li>Human Interest </li></ul><ul><li>Conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Newness </li></ul>
  10. 10. Timeliness <ul><li>How recently did (or will) the event happen? </li></ul><ul><li>Live event? </li></ul><ul><li>The more time that passes, the less newsworthy a story is </li></ul>
  11. 11. Timeliness <ul><li>When your client makes an announcement, you must make sure that the information reaches the media immediately </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes, you can give the press information early so that they can prepare the news story in advance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Press Embargo” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Non-disclosure” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Timeliness <ul><li>Tap into current events and holidays for possible news coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Find a hook that links your campaign to the news </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Movie download service Movielink gets publicity due to the media’s interest in the timely topic of movie piracy </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Prominence <ul><li>Celebrity adds credibility and news value to a campaign </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A marginal pitch might get coverage when you add a well-known spokesperson </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Prominence <ul><li>“ One” Campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Enlisted celebrities to call attention to the cause </li></ul>
  15. 15. Example <ul><li>Katie Couric went on a media tour to discuss the importance of getting colonoscopy cancer-screening tests </li></ul><ul><li>20% increase in the procedure in the following months after the campaign </li></ul>
  16. 16. Proximity <ul><li>Does your pitch have a local angle? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Proximity <ul><li>Statistic: About 70% of all news coverage in business/financial sections focuses on LOCAL businesses </li></ul><ul><li>If you are doing a national campaign, customize a local pitch for each regional media outlet </li></ul>
  18. 18. Significance <ul><li>How does the information impact the audience? </li></ul><ul><li>Create a pitch that addresses a concern or need of the audience </li></ul>
  19. 19. Significance <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>After 9/11 attacks, there was public concern about safety in high-rise buildings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ High-rise Office Parachute” product got tons of publicity </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Unusualness <ul><li>An unusual event or PR campaign might generate some news interest </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ World’s largest sandwich” event sponsored by Bimbo Bakery (Mexico City) </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Unusualness <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> issues a press release that promotes the site’s “number one” reviewer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harriet Klausner has written over 12,000 reviews without pay for the site </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Human Interest <ul><li>Is there an emotional component to the campaign? </li></ul><ul><li>If it is “interesting,” then it may be newsworthy </li></ul>
  23. 23. Human Interest <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>World AIDS Day is Dec. 1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Campaign to raise awareness might include a personal story of someone impacted by AIDS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media responds to the “human interest” angle </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Conflict <ul><li>Conflict and tension tends to get news coverage </li></ul><ul><li>A PR campaign can jump into the discussion/debate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use caution in these situations </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Conflict <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Political PR campaign for pro-life vs. pro-choice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your candidate can gain publicity by aligning with a particular side in the debate </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Newness <ul><li>If it is perceived as “new,” then it is elevated in news importance </li></ul><ul><li>Many PR campaigns repackage or reinvent something old into something “new” to gain publicity </li></ul>
  27. 27. Newness <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tide detergent has been “new and improved” each year for decades </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Applying the News Criteria <ul><li>As you strategize your PR campaign, you should look internally and externally to determine possible news angles to pitch </li></ul>
  29. 29. Internal <ul><li>Conduct a needs assessment with your client </li></ul><ul><li>What activities/initiatives/products/services might be considered relevant to the media </li></ul>
  30. 30. Some Things to Consider <ul><li>Is there anything new happening? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a high-profile personality involved with a project? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there anything unusual happening? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there anything with human interest? </li></ul>
  31. 31. External <ul><li>Look outside the organization for events or trends that you can tap into </li></ul><ul><li>Be pro-active in pitching the media about your initiative – within the framework of the larger news/event phenomena </li></ul>
  32. 32. Example <ul><li>As a reporter, I often needed a legal perspective for some of my stories </li></ul><ul><li>One very media-savvy lawyer made a point to “reach out” to me </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gave me her cell number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Willing to help me research legal info </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Willing to give a quote </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Her career benefited from the exposure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I got my quote/credibility </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Creating News <ul><li>A PR person can help to “create news” by understanding what journalists respond to </li></ul><ul><li>“ Pseudoevents” </li></ul><ul><li>Contests </li></ul><ul><li>Polls and Surveys </li></ul>
  34. 34. Develop a Media Campaign Strategy <ul><li>On the following slides, you will see several scenarios that require you to develop a media campaign strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Using the “news criteria” cited in the previous slides, develop your thoughts on how you would deal with the media on behalf of your client in each scenario </li></ul>
  35. 35. Media Campaign Strategy <ul><li>Your findings should include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is/are the public(s) you are trying to reach? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will you reach them? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Develop specific strategies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Include a local angle, if possible </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is your message? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Include key “talking points” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Scenario No. 1 <ul><li>Lavoris Mouthwash is a 100-year-old brand </li></ul><ul><li>It was the first consumer mouthwash </li></ul><ul><li>However, it is perceived as stodgy and old-fashioned </li></ul><ul><li>Sales are down and the product is no longer carried by most retailers </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a strategy that can begin to revive this brand and change public perception </li></ul>
  37. 37. Scenario No. 2 <ul><li>Actor Tom Cruise is having a career crisis </li></ul><ul><li>He is getting negative press due to his strange public behavior and some bias toward his religious beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a strategy to help him turn the public perception around! </li></ul>
  38. 38. Scenario No. 3 <ul><li>Motorola was recently given an “F” grade by Greenpeace due to its poor support of recycling </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a strategy to help Motorola reverse the public perception that it is not eco-friendly </li></ul>
  39. 39. Scenario No. 4 <ul><li>FIFA (the organization behind the World Cup) is trying to take the sport to the “next level” in the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite massive global popularity, professional soccer is not too popular in the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a strategy to increase awareness and enthusiasm for the sport </li></ul>
  40. 40. Scenario No. 5 <ul><li>Computer company Dell recently recalled several million laptop batteries due to concerns that they might catch fire </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer confidence is shaken in the company </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a strategy to win back the trust of consumers </li></ul>