How to get the most out of the press….

the press

How to get the most out of the press….

Doing a good job just isn’t enough anymore. The public need to be told that your organization is doing a good job so that you can count on their support. Building public support requires that you tap the resources of the local news media. To do this you must appreciate the importance of working with reporters and editors. Here are some cardinal rules for dealing with the press….


  1. Show no favourism.
  2. Don’t give one reporter a scoop and withhold information from the others or you will wind up losing the trust of all of them.
  3. Be open and honest. Always tell the truth or you will live to regret it. The first time a reporter knows you have not been honest, your credibility is destroyed.
  4. Treat members of the press as professionals. Because you are open and honest with reporters things will not go necessarily the way you want them to, but it does put your relationship on a firm footing and this can be a bonus in a time of crisis.
  5. Use plain English. Don’t talk in jargon. Speak and write in clear and concrete terms. Never say: "no comment". This tells the reporter that you are hiding something and it could result in ‘bad press’. When you really cannot give out information, be honest and explain yourself.
  6. Forget the idea that silence is golden. Being unavailable for comment does not help much either. No one will get to know what you are doing unless you talk to reporters. If you don’t know the answer, find it .If you cannot answer specific questions. Say so but promise to get back to the reporter with answers before the deadline.
  7. Admit mistakes. If something goes wrong, admit it, explain what you are doing to rectify it. You will gain the reporters respect.
  8. Pass news along. Keep reporters informed of upcoming events or special projects that might result in stories or photographic features.
  9. Provide background information. A package of background materials for reporters about your organization or project will help them present more accurately and fairly.
  10. Alert reporters when you cancel an event. Time is money in the news gathering business, andf the press doesn’t appreciate being canceled or postponed.
  11. Tell reporters when they have done a good job. A telephone call or brief note of thanks is appropriate.
  12. To conduct yourself in an interview. Speak with articulation, be concise and confidence. Do not be arrogant. Give enough words to answer a question but watch not to be too elaborate.

Based on: Management in a Minute

Authors - Dr Neil Flanagan and Jarvis Finger

Publisher - Zebra Press (a division of Struik Publisher (Pty) Ltd





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