Chapter 11: Getting Along with Journalists


This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox

The Importance of Media Relations:

  • Public relations personnel are the primary contact between the organization and the media.

The Media’s Dependence on Public Relations:

  • Although many reporters deny it, most of the information that appears in the mass media comes from public relations sources, which provide a constant stream of news releases, features, planned events, and tops to the media.
  • Public relations materials save media the time, money, and effort of gathering their own news.

Public Relations’ Dependence on the Media:

  • The purpose of public relations is to inform, to shape opinions and attitudes, and to motivate.
  • Reporters and editors make independent judgments about what is newsworthy and what will be disseminated.
  • Today, public relations professionals are less dependent on the traditional mess media to reach large audiences, because, for the first time in history, an organization, or even an individual, can literally reach billions of people, bypassing traditional mass media gatekeepers.

Areas of Friction:

  • Hype and Hews Release Spam
  • Name Calling
  • Sloppy/Biased Reporting
  • Tabloid Journalism
  • Advertising Influence

Working with Journalists:

  • Media Interviews
  • News Conferences
  • Teleconferences and Webcasts
  • Media Tours
  • Previews and Parties
  • Press Junkets
  • Editorial Board Meetings

A Media Relations Checklist:

  • Know your media
  • Send newsworthy information
  • Be available
  • Be truthful
  • Protect exclusives
  • Explain
  • Correct errors politely

Crisis Communication:

  • A good working relationship with the media is severely tested in times of crisis.
  • Guidelines:
    • “No comment” fuels hostility
    • Always try to be helpful
    • Be familiar with print and broadcast deadlines
    • Got to know the journalists in your area before a crisis hits
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Filed under Chapter Notes, PRCA 3330

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