Working with “The Media”

So you’re holding an event. You write-up a nice press release and send it out to “the media” six weeks before. It’s now “the day” and your event is in full swing, but no news crew shows up. What went wrong?

This is a complex situation which contains many levels so we’re just going to cover the basics of “Working with the Media”. Which media? I know small market broadcast news so we’ll go with that.

Here are the first things to know about most broadcast news operations.

1) They’re busy.

2) They’re looking for content which affects the most people.

3) Most of their local content for the day is prepped before 10:00AM.

What can you do to keep your event “news relevant”?

1) Have a clear, easy to understand event.

2) If you’re a not-for-profit you have a higher chance of coverage.

3) Determine if you are wanting media coverage prior to, or of the event.

3) If gearing towards media coverage, schedule your event before 2:00PM on a weekday. Most reporters and photographers are returning to the station to write stories and edit video in the afternoon. The later the event, the less staff they have available. Understandably you can’t always do this. As mentioned in #3, perhaps you should use the media to bring people to your event.

4) Send out a press release as soon as possible, then call to make sure it was received. Send out a second press release the week of, then the day of. Finally, (again) on the day of, call before 9:00AM. This is important because most stations begin their morning meetings before 10:00AM. This is when they plan their daily assignments. Remember “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”

5) Finally, you must also realize no matter what you do they may just not cover it. Things change, breaking news Occurs, and sometimes your event, while important to you, is not to them.