Media Tips

Media Tips

Initiating media contact

• It is worth working to build up a relationship with local media. Making yourself valuable to a news organization in good times means you already have rapport if a negative story breaks.

• Let the media know of positive events: launching new projects, getting a grant, opening a building, success stories.

• Be aware of interesting photo ops – not the handing over of cheques – people pictures.

• Local radio in particular is hungry for items to fill daily local bulletins.

• Determine your target audience and go for the news organisation most likely to reach them – community paper, Marlborough Express, radio with your demographic.

• Ensure that others in your organisation are informed and welcoming if a journalist has been invited to an event.

If you are contacted by a journalist:

• get a rough idea about what they want to talk about, if they are talking to others, what is the angle of the story. If necessary stall for time & say you'll ring back .

• you only get one chance at an interview, it is better to take time to be properly prepared.

• if necessary consult with someone else, refer to CEO

• do ring back – be aware of their deadlines.

• don't allow the reporter to prompt you to say what they want – what they think the story is

• at any point it is OK to say "I don't think I can answer that" or "I'll find out the answer that and get back to you."

• Have your 'key messages' in front of you and use the approach: "I can't answer that but what I can say is..."

• Try to avoid 'no comment' replies. Explain why you can't answer a question or refer the reporter to someone who can.

• 'Picture the headline' – there is more than one person involved in print media publication and your story may be simplified en route.

• don't assume a relationship of trust. 'Off the record' comments can appear in print.

• find out if the conversation is being taped

• make yourself available for follow up.

Be aware that journalists are working under pressure

• deadlines   • pressure from chief reporter to get the story   • competition to get the story

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