Five (and a bonus) Tips for Effective News Media Management

By Maurice Chaney, PIO, Enviromental Utilities, City of Roseville

The news media industry constantly changes, playing a crucial role in our daily lives. We depend on it to stay informed about current events. In the government sector, we can use the news media to communicate with our target audience effectively. For organizations, the news media is vital to the democratic process.

Recently, we talked with four members of the news media in Sacramento. They joined us to talk about the lasting importance of the news media. About 50 people attended the event to hear from journalists from print and television. They shared their thoughts on how news is evolving, how Public Information Officers can work with reporters, and how to get media coverage for story ideas.

Here are five (plus one) essential things to keep in mind when dealing with the media:

  1. Build relationships with reporters: Remember reporters are people, too. Regular communication with journalists and media outlets is the best way to get coverage.
  2. Be accessible and responsive: Respond to media inquiries promptly. When reporters contact you, please provide accurate information and connect them with experts in your organization.
  3. Know the deadlines: Understand the news cycle and the deadlines of media outlets. Respect reporters’ time constraints, especially during breaking news or tight deadlines.
  4. Be honest and transparent: Always provide truthful and accurate information. If you don’t have an answer, admit it and offer to provide the information later.
  5. Understand terms: Learn the differences between terms like “background,” “off-the-record,” and “non-attribution” during interviews. “Background” information helps reporters understand the context of their stories and can be quoted. “Off-the-record” information can’t be used in the story, so be cautious. “Non-attribution” information can be included in the story but not quoted directly.
  6. Provide all details in your pitch and hook them: When sending a media release, pitch, or idea, provide all the essentials. In addition to the who, what, when, where, and why, craft a compelling hook. Ensure your news story has a captivating and relevant angle that grabs the media’s attention from the start.

What other tips have you found effective when working with the media? Share your ideas on our CAPIO Facebook page and get a chance to win something from the CAPIO merch store!

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