Skip to comments.ATTENTION CHAPTERS - Rally Media Assistance from the FRN 2
Posted on 02/20/2003 4:27:40 PM PST by Bob J
Working With The Media
I. Getting Your Story to the Press
A. Call local television and radio stations and newspapers. Ask the receptionist for the assignment editors name, then ask to be connected.
B. Say to the editor Hi (editors name), this is (your name), I have a possible story for your.
C. Be brief, to the point, and be sure to make the angle of the story clear. (Example: New school board decision allowing teachers to distribute condoms in the classroom. Possible Angle: teachers liability. Based on condom failure rate.)
D. Use specific inflections to draw attention to the key points. (Example: The City Council is leasing the 35 million dollar race track to a private party for 100 dollars a year. [Actual story])
E. Build a current database of press contacts with phone and fax numbers to call for future press releases.
F. Prepare a document (See Example) to fax to the media with all pertinent information, including: Date, Time, Location, Persons and Topic. This document should include a contact name and phone number for the press to call for further information.
G. Set up a good rapport with local reporter who can help give a story some extra weight for the inside. When sending a press release, send an extra one specifically addressed to that reporter.
II. The Press Conference/ Interview
A. Put all facts, figures, charts and details on paper, and provide copies for reporters. Only crucial data applies, no long editorials. Highlight key facts or phrases inside paragraphs. Some of the material may be used on camera in the story. Make your points as short, clear and concise as possible. News people love hard hitting facts outlined in one page or else.
B. Arrive first to prepare the interview environment. 1. Backdrop: What will be seen behind the person being interviewed. 2. set up table, skirt, chairs, copies and easels for presentation materials, etc. 3. Make sure all necessary interviewees are present to cover all necessary angles. News people love to interview real life people as well as officials. Try to have some regular citizens with you who are an example of your story.
C. Anticipate 1. Will the location be good for light and sound? 2. Is an alternate location near, in case of inclement weather? 3. What image will the location portray in the eyes of the public? 4. Will the time of the interview/press conf. Be interrupted by traffic, noise, ore pedestrians? 5. Will my clothing be troublesome/distractive in wind? (scarves, etc.) 6. Will the location and time of interview allow enough time for reporters to edit and air? Very important. The best time is between 9:30 and 11:30 AM. 7. Has the location been cleared by the management of the premises?
D. Talking to Reporters
1. Start up conversation while the camera is being set up.
2. Take an interest in the reporters life. Ask how their work is coming along. Compliment their past work. (Only if you really know it. Reporters can easily spot insincerity.) Show empathy for his/her relentless deadlines and underpay.
3. Ask about their life and family; use humor to loosen up the mood. This will most likely be the beginning of many future interviews. It is harder for a reporter to ask biting questions to a person thats genuine and interested in them and their life. Show them love and compassion. Befriend them in a sincere way. Get them on your side. Pray for them.
4. Maintain good eye contact. Do not shift eyes between camera and reporter. This looks insecure and shifty on the screen. Always keep focused on the reporter.
5. Articulate and maintain good volume.
6. Speak from a position of confidence and authority. Know your issue well enough to quote facts and figures without searching for them.
7. Speak with compassionate passion, not passion alone.
8. Make a stand for the things you for, vs. the things you are against. Try to encourage rather than scorn.
9. If using scripture, put it in modern English and let it speak for itself, without the address.
E. Beginning a Press Conference
1. Use either a self standing podium or a long table.
2. Seat panelists at skirted table to be introduced by moderator
3. Moderator (who can also be one of the panelists) should begin the Press Conf. By thanking the people for coming, introducing himself and the organization, and stating the purpose for the conference. Keep it short and to the point.
4. Introduce each of the panelists with a brief summary of their background and expertise related to the issue, and begin with an opening statement. (Names and phone numbers of the speakers should be handed out, or listed on the press release).
5. Once the opening comments are made, reintroduce the first panelist to speak.
6. When the panelist has completed, (3-5 minutes max.) the moderator should take the podium and thank him, then introduce the nest speaker.
7. When all the speakers have concluded, the moderator should make any final brief remarks and open it up to questions form the press.
8. When no further questions are asked by reporters, say, If there are no further questions, that will end our time here today. Thank you for coming. Panelists should remain for one-on-one interviews with reporters.
F. Sound Bites
1. Watch the evening news and time the average length of each sound bite used in news stories. Only segments short enough to fit in a crowded half hour broadcast will be used. (Approx. 10-20 seconds.)
2. Practice compartmentalizing your information into short, 3-5 sentence statements, that can be captured in context for use in a news segment.
3. Use a contemplative silent pause to thing through questions that do not bring ready answers to mind. This will keep the reporter from using your searching fill-words like: Uh, Hmm, I uh, Well, Umm, etc., that make you look unprepared and hurt your credibility.
4. Go over material before interviews and outline in descending order the priority pieces of information. Begin at the top so key issues are discussed first. Write succinct summary statements on each item and memorize them.
5. Ask yourself, Will the public understand the position Im taking, and the reason for my stand from the context of this sound bite. Most people do not understand the issue as well as you do; be sure to communicate in the press on a grass roots level.
6. On occasion you may be interviewed by a newspaper reporter with a reputation for misquoting conservatives. With a smile on your face, explain that if your are misquoted, you may never five him another interview, and that there will come a time in the future when the issues are hot and he will want one. Then follow steps above.
III. Keeping a copy of News Stories for your use
A. Form relationships with people in the news departments of television stations. Ask to have a tape made with your organizations name on it. Ask to have a running tape log done on all stories including your organization. (This is generally only possible if you know someone personally at the station in the department. Stations will generally not do this for you. They will often prepare a VHS tape on a per-air item basis for approx. $25.)
B. Alternate and less expensive ways of keeping copies of news coverage.
1. Locate a company of agency in your area that tapes all three networks news coverage every day. Some large companies do this in case news airs about them. Check for a local video clipping service.
2. Find key individual with VCRs and ask them to be your News Coordinator by taping the coverage off-the-air in their home.
a. The VCR must be on SP or Standard Play (as apposed to LP long play) in order to be edited later on professional equipment. b. Tape must be Very carefully marked with Issue, Date, Time (noon, 6 PM, 10 PM news, etc.) and Location on the tape where a story can be found. (A story on a 4 hour tape with other programming on it can be almost impossible to find in a short time.) c. Break off the little black tab on the back of the tape to prevent recording over your stories.
C. Keep all tapes together in one place for reference and viewing. Keep a log, and number each tape.
D. Make a highlight tape. This can be very helpful at board meeting and in fund raising. (Seek professional productions assistance. This can make the difference between the Home Video amateur look, and a professional community influence.
Tips On Using Radio
1) Radio Allows you to more selectively target the audience your message is to be delivered to.
2) Remember that radios prime time is 6AM-7PM (13 hours per day). Televisions prime time is 6PM-10:30 or 11:30PM, ending with the late night news (4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours).
3) Carefully placed radio can be very cost effective and radio is relatively easy to place (buy).
3) In radio, the demographic/lifestyle characteristics of the audience are station/format driven. In television, they are driven by the individual program and shift/change with the program (every half hour or so).
4) Reach and frequency and effectiveness of message are the determinants of a successful radio campaign when targeted properly. Frequency is critical, and frequency on radio is very affordable and achievable.
5) Effective frequency is achieved when listeners are exposed to your message between three and five times. The necessary number of spots per day varies, depending upon the stations average time spent listening, but a range of three to eight spots per day will usually achieve your objective.
Tips For Getting Your Public Service Announcement (PSA) On The Air
1. Send your public service announcements to the stations you wish to have air them seven to ten days prior to the date you wish them to start airing. They should begin airing 10-14 days prior to the event you are promoting.
2. Address all PSAs to:
(name of the person if known) Public Service Director WXXX Radio Street name or PO Box City, State Zip
3. Recorded (taped) PSAs are less likely to be used than live. Recorded PSAs can be in :60 and :30 second lengths and should always be sent or delivered on reel to reel, NON ON CASSETTE.
4. Written copy PSAs should be 30, 15, or 10 seconds in length and the 10s and 15s are more likely to be used.
5. Written PSAs should always be submitted on a 3x5 index card. Typed in all caps and double spaced. If is wont fit on and index card, its too long.
6. Format card should look like this:
Better hide the women and children. 'Pod is back on da Net (at home)!