|| Be an avid media
watcher. It is critical that you are familiar
with the media before you contact them. Key questions
to ask: Is this the best avenue to reach my audience?
What type of stories do they typically cover? Will
my information fit their format?
|| Be timely. Tie
your story to a news item or timely issue when possible.
|| Be alert. Stay
on top of breaking news that relates to your company’s
sphere of activities. Take note of stories, where
they appear and whose byline they carry.
|| Know the appropriate media
outlets to target. Determine whether a
story has national implications and direct it accordingly.
Release stories with local news to local media.
Don’t underestimate the power of weekly community-oriented
newspapers that cover a particular city or region.
|| Know the reporter’s
beat. Before you contact a reporter, pay
attention to his recent stories and make sure your
story fits his format/beat. Ask the reporter if
there is a method (fax, phone or e-mail) he prefers
when you need to contact him.
|| Be accessible. Always
let reporters know how to reach you, and return
calls promptly. If you are the spokesperson for
an organization, it is your responsibility to be
accessible at all times, even in the middle of the
night. Key reporters should have your office and
home telephone numbers as well as pager and/or cell
|| Respect deadlines. Always
ask if a reporter is on deadline when you call.
Find out when he is typically on deadline and never
call at that time. Ask the reporter if he has a
time he prefers for you to contact him. Also, make
sure timely information is provided well in advance
|| Be truthful. Give
accurate and complete information.
|| Get to the point.
Put the most important information first. Don’t
include information unless it is factual. Do not
try to pass advertising off as news.
|| Provide requested information.
Get back to a reporter if you don’t have the
information when you are asked. Follow up on what
||Be accurate. Your
facts and figures must be clear and dependable.
You must be able to back them up.
|| Answer questions. There
are only three acceptable answers:
||a. “Here it
||b. “I don’t
know but I’ll find out for you.”
||c. “I know,
but I can’t tell you now because…”
comment” is not an option.
|| Protect exclusives.
If a reporter has found a story, don’t give
it to anyone else. If another reporter also discovers
it, the matter is out of your hands.
|| Give all the news.
It’s far better to assist a reporter looking
for information that is publicly accessible than
to send him to find it on his own.
|| Use professional photographers.
When submitting photos with your news release, use
a professional photographer. The odds are greater
that your photograph will be used if it is done
|| Balance your treatment of
the media. Competing media deserve equal
opportunity to receive information.
|| Explain. Do not
assume that reporters understand your business and
the industry jargon you use daily. Many reporters
don’t understand the nature of your business
and they certainly don’t know as much as you
do. Give them background briefings and materials;
tell them how decisions were made and why.
|| Proof. Proof again. Have
other people proofread and edit your information
before sending it to the media. Reporters will not
give serious attention to a news release with typos,
poor grammar and other errors.
|| Correct errors politely.
Ignore minor errors. If a major factual
error skews the accuracy of the entire story, bring
it to the reporter’s attention. If that doesn’t
work, go to his editor.
|| Praise good work.
If a reporter has written a good and accurate story,
a note of thanks (with a copy to his editor) will