Tips and Tactics for Working with the Media

1. Understanding the news business

The single most important factor in working with reporters is your personal working
The news media is not your public relations department.

Know the difference between “news” and “entertainment” coverage.

The news business wants news!!

Don’t ask to see a story before it is printed.

Plan around the news media’s slow days-the best time to generate coverage is on a
Monday or a Tuesday. The most difficult day is Friday.

Know news deadlines for publications.

Think visually for television.

Think sound bites for radio

2. Strategies and Tactics

Anticipate stories. Come up with a local angle on State and National stories.
Be sure to send a News Release or Media Advisory to the Assignment Editors. Reporters
do not make the decisions about what is printed or aired.

Always have a mom with her kids and a story. For example: if you are holding a News
Conference about the child support agency holding checks; have a mom that is
experiencing this problem ready to talk to the media.

If you are holding a news conference, prepare a written statement and use it!

Have an media packet to give to the reporters.

3. Checklist for successful publicity

Be timely. Old news is no news. Tell reporters when an event will happen before it
happens!! Nonpayment of child support is an “evergreen” story – the problem is always
there so you need to come up with a new angle or event to make it interesting.
Be realistic. Understand what is news. Do not loose your credibility by trying to get
coverage for events that are not newsworthy.

Be prepared.

Be in control. The media naturally has final say in what is published or broadcast, but
you still can exercise control.

Be memorable. Try to say something in your message that the reporter will use and that
people will remember.

News is in the eye of the assignment editors!! Nothing guarantees media coverage. You
are always competing with other events and happenings in your community!!

Offer perspective about how your subject fits into the scheme of things in addition to
providing the usual who, what, when, where, why and how.

Check spelling, grammar and facts at least one more time on all releases.

Remember what gets used depends on what else is available.