Tips on dealing with the media

Story posted 3 May, 2012 10:45 by Administrator

Crisis, what crisis?

Or what to do when they come knocking on your door.

Crisis, what crisis? I know we have all heard it before but no matter how many times it’s screamed from the rooftops and Parliament, most people are not sure of how to manage a crisis when it happens to them.

Those in the ‘know’ will tell you that the most important thing to do is ‘don’t panic’ and ‘say nothing’ or better still, just stick your head in the sand and wait for things to go away. Just ask Mr. Ratner about that one!

For those who are prepared to step forward and acknowledge that today’s world is a 24-hour news, Citizen Broadcasting and Social Media world; the best possible form of defense is not attack but preparation.

Preparation is a key part of crisis planning. But, it is equally important to plan ahead and train key personnel so that they possess the tools they will need to handle any ad-hoc PR situation when the Press Core come knocking.

How you look and sound on television, or come across in the tabloids, can go a long way in making you look credible to the public - and dare I say, to your trustees or stakeholders too!

It is a well-known fact that the media can make or break you or your organisation; especially if you are neither prepared nor trained to handle the inevitable onslaught when something goes wrong.

After twenty odd years working in the Media on hard news and documentaries (for companies such as Sky News, BBC, ITN and CNN), I have been able to assist my clients in making sure that they are well prepared for any media attention that may come their way - or indeed that they may court.

Here are a few important points to consider before you invite Mr. Paxman in for a coffee and a little chat.

Plan and Rehearse

All great artists have to rehearse before they go in front of the public and perform. You must anticipate the possible questions from the reporters and formulate answers to them. You must also identify and rehearse your main points prior to the interview.

It’s Only a Camera

I have seen grown men cry in front of a camera. However a camera is nothing to be afraid of. Remember! You know more about your subject than the reporter - that’s why he’s asking YOU for the interview!

The Soundbite

Answer the question and then move on to what YOU want to talk about! Get your main points in early and never be afraid to repeat them! It’s YOUR interview after all!

Play to your Audience

It’s no use using jargon if your audience can’t understand it. Its all-very well  ‘facing forward and engaging the stakeholders’ - Save it for the Board Room!

The New Media is out there!

Be aware of the new media platforms out there e.g. ‘You Tube’ and other numerous  ‘blogs’ and Social Media outlets. It pays to be mindful of all the latest avenues the media may use to relate their story.

"That’s not what I meant!"

How many times have we heard it? “I’ve been misquoted”. If you don’t want to see it in print - DON’T SAY IT! There is no such thing as an’ off-the-record’ chat. You have been warned!

All said and done, the reporter doesn’t necessarily want to catch you out or make you look bad. He needs to go back with an interview that he can broadcast or he isn’t doing his job. Don’t be afraid of the media! Go out there and make the most of them – you’ll find that some of us are really nice!

tl_files/Files/Other Files/redleaf.pngAlan Humphreys – Red Leaf Media

Red Leaf Media provide PR Crisis Management Training for third sector and commerical organisations throughout the northwest.

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