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Advice on Dealing with the Media


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Advice on Dealing with the Media

  1. 1. You may want to familiarize yourself with Chapter 286, the “Sunshine” Law and Chapter 119, Public Records. Both of these laws help to guarantee that as a public official, you will be interacting with the media regularly. The advice in this presentation should help to ensure that your interactions are effective.
  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.
  5. 5. Internal Public • Administrators/Principals • Teachers • Paraprofessionals • Secretaries • Support Personnel • Bus Drivers • Maintenance Workers • Cafeteria Workers • Students These are people directly associated with and participating in the school system every day.
  6. 6. External Public • Parents • Businesses • Civic Groups • Elected Officials • Media • Government Agencies • Non-Parents These are the people who are not participating in the school system every day.
  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
  13. 13. Developing a good working relationship with the media is a key step in increasing the community’s understanding and support for public education. Media Relations
  14. 14. 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.
  15. 15. Media Relations Education is news and will be reported with or without the assistance of the school district. Helping a reporter obtain news about the school system increases understanding.
  16. 16. Newspapers, radio and television can be advantageous communication channels • to increase awareness of district programs, services and accomplishments, • to reinforce the importance of the contributions of various partners in education, Media Relations Effective use
  17. 17. 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. Effective use, continued
  18. 18. 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.
  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. Understand the News Business • 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 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 the reactions of others might be. • Don’t play favorites with reporters.
  25. 25. Strategies and Tactics • Be judicious when saying, “No comment.” “No comment” can be portrayed as guilt, a lack of transparency, or any number of other negatives.
  26. 26. “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
  27. 27. “For a politician to complain about the media is like a ship’s captain complaining about the sea.” Enoch Powell
  28. 28. Working With Reporters Be confident. You know more about the topic than the reporter does.
  29. 29. Never go “off the record”. There is no such thing. Reporters exist to do a job. Being your friend is not their job.
  30. 30. Offer to call back in 10 minutes to allow yourself time to gather facts or information rather than “shoot from the lip”.
  31. 31. 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.
  32. 32. Working With Reporters • Avoid jargon and condescending remarks. • Beware of the “killer pause”. Just because it’s quiet doesn’t mean you need to fill the silence. • Be willing to admit mistakes and problems.
  33. 33. Working With Reporters • Compliment reporters for a job well done. • Think like a reporter. • Never lie.
  34. 34. Handling Problems Resist the urge to send letters to the editor.
  35. 35. 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.
  36. 36. Handling Problems Keep in mind: the news media ALWAYS has the last word.
  37. 37. 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?
  38. 38. During an Emergency At a time of chaos or uncertainty, the public looks to its elected leaders for reassurance and facts.
  39. 39. During an Emergency The single most important time to deal effectively with the media is during an emergency or crisis. Ask to view the district Emergency Communications Plan and know what district policy requires during these times.
  40. 40. During an Emergency Know who has the authority to speak during these times and ensure that person(s) is the only person who gives information to the public. Too many people giving information results in conflicting messages which raises levels of concern by the public.
  41. 41. During an Emergency Ensure that whoever has the authority to speak on behalf of the district is available to the media regularly to provide updates and details as they emerge. Also, know when the media deadlines are so that the most recent information can be shared to meet those deadlines.
  42. 42. During an Emergency If necessary, consult a professional to assist with district communication efforts. Especially if district staff is working on logistics of solving operations issues, you may need additional assistance with expertise in this area.
  43. 43. The Interview
  44. 44. 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!!
  45. 45. 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
  46. 46. How to Have a Good Interview Pause before answering each question. This gives you time to decide if you have an appropriate statement.
  47. 47. 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.
  48. 48. 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.
  49. 49. 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!
  50. 50. 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.
  51. 51. 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
  52. 52. 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.
  53. 53. This is way too much…
  54. 54. This is perfect!
  55. 55. This is more like it!
  56. 56. This is more like it!
  57. 57. Now that you look good, choose a comfortable location, such as your office or the school board conference room for the interview.
  58. 58. When asked a question…
  59. 59. If you mess up…
  60. 60. Ask the reporter to start again.
  61. 61. Look the reporter squarely in the eyes.
  62. 62. “…um, and you know, um, well, uhhh, you see…”Take the time to think if you need it. Don’t fill thinking time with “um,” “you know,” “uh,” or any other filler phrases. It is distracting and presents you in a bad light.
  63. 63. As you conduct your interview, always remember WHO you serve!
  64. 64. Have a list of points that you want to make. Don’t just leave it up to the reporter.
  65. 65. Keep your responses positive. Don’t repeat the negative words from a reporter’s question.
  66. 66. Be ready to state the essence of your message in 15 words or less. Broadcast journalists are looking for short sound bites.
  67. 67. Start by using the name of the interviewer and a greeting. This will make you sound friendly and comfortable.
  68. 68. Over exaggeration is the same as a lie.
  69. 69. Make every effort to end the interview sounding strong and confident.
  70. 70. Practice makes perfect, so practice!
  71. 71. Ask Yourself Is there anything that you can improve on when doing interviews for your district? REMEMBER…
  72. 72. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
  73. 73. 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.
  74. 74. You may want to say “NO” when….. the media’s presence would truly disrupt your operation. And, just because the media has asked a question doesn’t mean that it must be answered immediately. Give yourself whatever time you need.
  75. 75. Try to avoid controversy but be aware that it sells!
  76. 76. You may want to say “NO” when… The media interviews would invade privacy or exacerbate a very delicate situation.
  77. 77. Student Records and Information Student records (grades, transcripts, testing, etc.) ARE NOT considered part of the public record according to Florida law.
  78. 78. When in doubt…err on the side of caution!
  79. 79. 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.
  80. 80. Accountability for student performance is at an all time high. Be informed. Be honest. Accept the blame if needed and offer a solution.
  81. 81. “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
  82. 82. Elected officials need the media and the media needs them. Cultivate this relationship.
  83. 83. 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?
  84. 84. Social Media Social media may be new for you, but it is a very visible presence worldwide.
  85. 85. Social Media Social media is a broader concept than social networking, though people often put them together — social media 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.
  86. 86. Social Media Social media technologies take on many different forms including magazines, internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, micro blogging, wikis, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, and social bookmarking. More are being designed everyday.
  87. 87. 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.
  88. 88. Social Media It is important that you as an elected official monitor what is posted on the internet. Oftentimes 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.
  89. 89. Social Networking Statistics show 93% of internet users expect politicians to have a presence online.
  90. 90. 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 has 234 friends as of December 31, 2011, but that number continues to expand.
  91. 91. Social Networking 48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up, with 28% doing so before even getting out of bed.
  92. 92. 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.
  93. 93. 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.
  94. 94. 48% of young people said they now get their news through Facebook. If this information is not coming from you, what is their source?
  95. 95. Social Media Because of its pervasiveness, social media cannot be ignored. Modern elected officials need to be more aware than ever before about the changes occurring in communication.
  96. 96. Social Networking These statistics suggest that elected officials should identify some way to utilize social media to get their message out to the masses. But, be smart. Use these helpful tips as you tweet, blog or email.
  97. 97. 1. Be candid. In the information age, transparency is very important. Be sure the message that you send can be verified and archived.
  98. 98. 2. 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 lawsuit. While your posts may not lead to a lawsuit, it’s best to steer clear of name- calling.
  99. 99. 3. Interact with visitors carefully. Just putting up a blog or a Facebook fan page won’t do much good if visitors sense the flow of information only goes one way.
  100. 100. 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.
  101. 101. 5. Make amends with dissatisfied constituents quickly. A public post does not substitute for personal contact when responding to constituents’ concerns.
  102. 102. 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.
  103. 103. 6 Ways Facebook Has Changed Politics Traci Andrighetti, PhD Facebook’s 900 million-plus users deserve the lion’s share of the credit for profoundly altering political processes not only in the United States but also abroad. Here are six ways that Facebook and its users have forever changed the “face” of politics.
  104. 104. 1. Make Politics and Politicians More Accessible Since the advent of Facebook, the general public is more connected to politics than ever before. Instead of watching TV 1. Make Politics and Politicians More Accessible or searching the Internet for the latest political news, Facebook users can go directly to a politician’s fan page for the most up-to-date information. They can also interact one-on-one with candidates and elected officials about important issues by sending them private messages or posting on their walls. Personal contact with politicians gives citizens more immediate access to political information and more power to hold lawmakers accountable for their actions.
  105. 105. Because politicians are more accessible to the public via Facebook, they receive almost immediatefeedback about their stances on the issues from supporters and opponents. Campaign organizers and strategists track and analyze this feedback with social intelligence apps like Wisdom, which identify the demographics, “Likes,” interests, preferences and behaviors of politicians’ Facebook fan bases. This information helps campaign strategists target specific groups to rally new and existing supporters and raise funds. 2. Allow Campaign Strategists to Better Target Voters Because politicians are more accessible to the public via Facebook, they receive almost immediate
  106. 106. Because politicians are more accessible to the public via Facebook, they receive almost immediatelarger audience and speak directly to supporters, politicians often subvert the press by posting messages on their own Facebook pages. Facebook users see these messages and respond to them. The media must then report on public response to a politician’s message rather than on the message itself. This process replaces the traditional, interrogatory reporting of the press with a reflective style of coverage that requires the press to report on trending issues instead of new stories. 3. Force Media to Provide Reflective Coverage Communication between politicians and the public on Facebook obliges the media to take a backseat in the reporting process. In an effort to reach a
  107. 107. Because politicians are more accessible to the public via Facebook, they receive almost immediateFacebook has increased the political mobilization of young people, in particular students. In fact, the “Facebook effect” has been credited as a major factor in the historic youth voter turnout for the 2008 presidential election, which was the second largest in American history. As young people intensify their participation in the political process, they have a greater say in determining the issues that drive campaigns and make the ballots. 4. Increase Youth Voting Rates By providing an easy, immediate way to share and access campaign information and support candidates,
  108. 108. Because politicians are more accessible to the public via Facebook, they receive almost immediate group called"One Million Voices Against FARC” organized a protest march against FARC (the Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia) in which hundreds of thousands of citizens participated. And as evidenced by the “Arab Spring” uprisings in the Middle East, activists used Facebook to organize inside their own countries and relied on other forms of social media such as Twitter and YouTube to get the word out to the rest of the world. In this way, users in authoritarian nations can engage in politics while evading state censorship. 5. Organize Protests and Revolutions Facebook functions not only as a source of support for political systems but also as a means of resistance. In 2008, a Facebook
  109. 109. Because politicians are more accessible to the public via Facebook, they receive almost immediate million people who comprise this global community are playing a significant role in breaking down borders between nations, religions, races and political groups. As Facebook users from different countries connect and share their views, they’re often surprised to learn how much they have in common. And in the best of cases, they begin to question why they were ever taught to hate each other in the first place. 6. Promote World Peace Although Facebook actively promotes peace on its Peace on Facebook page, the over 900
  110. 110. Dealing with the Media You will have many opportunities to interact with representatives of the media and the public through various outlets. Be wise and cautious. Remember Florida’s “Sunshine” and public records laws. Remember that the media can and will only report what is available to them. Give them positive things to report. final thoughts…
  111. 111. Earn points toward your Certified Board Member (CBM) distinction. Now that you have viewed this presentation, click the link below to fill out the CBM Reflection form. You will be awarded 1 point in Communications/ Public Relations once your form has been received by the FSBA Board Development Office.