Posts tagged ‘Press Secretary’

Tips for Monitoring Journalist Interviews

All interviews by a journalist of your principal or organization should be monitored.

Andrew Adonis interviewed about a mayor for Bristol - 5 Jan 2011
Creative Commons License photo credit: Institute for Government

First, you must perform a check on any possible mis-readings or errors by the reporter. Second, monitoring the interview will provide you with a better understanding of the points your principal wants to stress. Finally, you will be able to perform a more effective follow-up with the reporter, something that can be especially important if the principal makes a mistake during the interview.

While monitoring the interview pay close attention to ensure the principal does not make any factual errors. If he or she gets a number or date wrong, you need to fix it. In the event the error occurs during a broadcast interview, it will be up to you to encourage the reporter not to make use of that particular sound bite.

Media Relations Handbook, by Bradford FitchAt times you may need to either play up or play down certain points by your principal. This can be a challenge as reporters often view this strategy as a blatant form of spin. In some instances, you may have additional facts not mentioned by the principal that serve to strengthen the main point and will be relevant to the reporter. You can do this through the follow-up. By sending additional points through email you can reinforce points you would like to see appear within the story.

You also need to consider whether you want to record the interview. There may be little value in recording an interview unless it is a one-time interview and you anticipate a biased story. Blatantly recording an interview sends a message to the reporter that you do not trust them. If it is your goal to establish a long-term relationship with a reporter conducting an interview, you must work toward building a degree of trust. That may mean not recording the interview.

To learn more about effective public relations strategies, consider TheCapitol.Net’s 1-day course Media Relations for Public Affairs Professionals, and the 2-day Advanced Media Relations Workshop.

Reference: Media Relations Handbook, by Brad Fitch, Section 8.12 Things to Monitor during the Interview.

For more information about media training from TheCapitol.Net, see these resources:

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Creating a Communications Plan

One of the earliest tasks of many new press secretaries and communication directors is the development of a communications plan. A large portion of early reviews, research and interviews will result in the development of this plan. Without the presence of such a plan, any proactive press work is virtually impossible.

If we were wooden models...
Creative Commons License photo credit: jeremyfoo

In some instances, you might enter a situation in which a communication plan is already in place. In this case, your main responsibility would be to assist in implementing that plan. If you are the only or the senior press liaison, you will likely be expected to deliver the message along with drafting the plan.

It is important to first consider the message you wish to convey when you are drafting a communications plan. You also need to take into consideration the strategic goals of your principal or organization as well as the tools available to you for communication. Communication goals may be associated with a time line. This could be a legislative calendar, an election campaign, or some other series of important events.

Communication plans should never be created from a sheer void. Recognize the individuals involved when you are considering the specifics of internal politics. It is also important to take into consideration the people who may need to review and approve the communications plan for it to become a reality. Media Relations Handbook, by Bradford Fitch

Developing a strong communications message can be one of the most difficult aspects of the job of the public relations professional. Ultimately, your goal is a message embodied in a clear and concise statement that makes a connection with your audience in a way that is meaningful and valuable. In marketing, the message for a product is summarized in a slogan or advertising.

The communication plan you develop will define the organization, agency or person you represent in the mind of the public. When developing your communication plan, remember that messages fall into two broad categories: strategic messages and campaign messages.

Strategic messages are often broad in theme and feature an overarching set of principles that are used for guiding and shaping all communications.

Campaign messages are a subset within a strategic message. The campaign message has a time limit and is often defined by a measurable outcome.

To find out more about developing an effective communication plan, consider TheCapitol.Net’s Advanced Media Relations Workshop.

Reference: Media Relations Handbook, by Brad Fitch, Section 1.14 Creating a Communications Plan, and Section 3.2 The Message.

For more information about media training from TheCapitol.Net, see these resources:

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