Media Relations 101

Florida League of Cities

Crisis Communications & Media Training

Lisa Nason – Ron Sachs Communications August 12, 2011

Leading Media Professionals
             

Florida League of Cities Florida Association of Health Plans Governor’s Adoption Initiative Florida Association of Counties Florida Association of Court Clerks Florida Association of Health Plans Florida Association of Insurance Agents Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects Florida Center for Performing Arts and Education The Byrd Alzheimer’s Center & Research Institute Florida Department of Health The Florida Nurses Association Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Whole Child Leon

Media Relations 101
Presentation Overview:

Media Training Crisis Communications

Media Relations and Public Affairs
Why Engage?
 In

addition to education and advocacy, proactive media relations is a critical component of the overall public affairs effort to tell your story: Dispel myths or inaccuracies

§

The Role of the Media
IT’S A JOB!
   

Social media ◦ Print vs. Electronic REMEMBER to HARO!

Reporters are not the enemy Tremendous pressure from editors for decent stories Short deadlines, lean staff Competition on multiple fronts:

Help A Reporter Out

Media Rules
Trust is the Coin of the Realm
1. Never
◦ ◦

2. Never
◦ ◦

You will get caught Your reputation as a source will be destroyed Be a resource - HARO Respect deadlines

Lie. Ever. For Any Reason

leave the media empty-handed

3. You
◦ ◦

Stick to the focus of the story “Off the record” doesn’t exist, so don’t blab

don’t have to tell everything you know

Media Materials – Media Kit

Fact Sheet
◦ ◦

Comprehensive, but easy to understand Media and Audience Resource Remember: HARO! Make it easy for others to understand Drive the message – ask questions you want to answer Good interview preparation tool (and media resource)

Q&A
◦ ◦ ◦

 

Bios, Maps, Graphics, Charts, Statistics Success Stories or Profiles – make the story come alive with real people and real stories

Which Media?

Media List…

Critically important to target properly – local government reporters; Capitol Press Corps; assignment editors Don’t forget online industry publications and advocacy sites News Aggregators Talk Radio Public Access & Local Government TV

Who is the media?

Media Strategies

Make Your Own News Serum
◦ ◦ ◦ ◦

Truth

Show the Human Impact Have a Local Angle to connect to bigger stories Be ready to act! Timing is everything Develop News Hooks – Tie into current media cycle

Make It Memorable
◦ ◦ ◦

Announce something in a new and novel way Think in terms of visuals – photo and film Include Media worthy participants and props

(HARO!)

Golden Fleece

Media Strategy: Issue a Report, Poll, New Data, Study

Logistics
 

Know your deadlines! Don’t call a reporter after 3:00pm unless you have breaking news or an update Don’t have an event after 2:00pm if you want to make a 5:00pm package To hold a news conference in the Capitol, you will need a sponsor (Senator/Representative) Prepare for the media: multbox, risers, mic stand

The Interview
Be Prepared!
  

Identify three to five key messages (Fact Sheet) Anticipate tough questions (Q&A) Shape your message
◦ ◦

Be prepared for success
◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦

Be brief, and say what you mean Prepare sound bites, your most important points Speak simply Be brief, but avoid yes/no answers. Don’t use too many statistics Don’t use professional jargon Avoid acronyms

The Interview
     

Be brief Act natural – Stand Up! Don’t fidget…. Use gestures sparingly Speak directly to the interviewer Look at the reporter, not the camera STOP TALKING WHEN YOU ARE DONE

Camera Ready!

The Interview
Control Your Message
-

Tell the story your way, regardless of the question.

- Don’t rush to respond - it is okay to pause.
-

Make sure that every statement is a message and that the statement is yours. STOP TALKING WHEN YOU ARE DONE

-

The Interview
Control your message with the bridge technique: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. “What is more important is to take a look at…” “Before we continue, let me emphasize that…” “No, let me explain…” “While I can’t answer that, it is essential that I…” “Here is the real issue…” STOP TALKING WHEN YOU ARE DONE.

The Interview
Think you’re done? 1. Assume the camera is still rolling, or that the microphone is still on 2. Remember – there is no “Off the Record” 3. Assume that you will be taken out of context – it will happen frequently 4. If you are actually misquoted or a factual error occurs, immediately seek to have a correction issued, and if appropriate, that online editions are also corrected.

Media Relations 101
Presentation Overview:

Media Training Crisis Communications

Crisis Communications
What is a Crisis? (3 different types)
◦ ◦ ◦

Operational Crisis – Emergency (Reactive) Organizational Crisis – Issue Management (Proactive) Organizational Crisis – Reputation Repair (Reactive)
1. Case 2. Case

Study: RS&H (Emergency Event)

Study: HRMC (Issue Management) Study: FBC (Reputation Repair)

3. Case

Definition of a Crisis

Emergency: Self-evident. (natural disaster; technology/equipment related; human error) Issue Management: An unstable condition involving the likelihood of an impending abrupt or decisive change (i.e., critical report or media coverage, imminent legal decision) Reputation Repair: Integrity or reputation of an individual or organization is threatened (brewing scandal)

Case Study: Emergency Crisis
RS&H

National Engineering and Transportation Consultants – 26 U.S. offices November 6, 2009 – Fatal Workplace Violence In a 20 minute time period, RS&H went from normal operations to “live” on CNN.

Crisis Details
1.
-

Company was in a REACTIVE MODE
-

CEO was traveling. Genuine confusion about details No crisis communication plan existed

2.

Scramble to deal with media

◦ ◦

Local affiliates scrambling for information and interviews – AGGRESSIVE PRESS CORPS – GET THE INTERVIEW! National media interest. GET THE INTERVIEW! RS&H sought crisis communication help within 24 hours

Handling the Crisis
1.

Local media relations

Live Press Conference with C-level execs, law enforcement, Mayor, Clergy Provided CONTROLLED access to small pool of employees, access to family of injured Daily news releases; milestone press conferences

2.
◦ ◦ ◦

National media relations

Debunking myths (Lou Dobbs) Correcting the record (by-the-book termination) Reinforce the corporate brand: commitment to improvement. Review by safety expert.

Crisis Outcome: SUCCESS
1.

Stopped rumor mill among media, employees Stopped aggressive pursuit of RS&H employees by engaging in exhaustive media relations Retained a strong, loyal workforce Corporate Brand INTACT! Reinforced the corporate brand & commitment to continuous improvement, review of operations, facilities by industrial design and safety experts

2.

3.

4.

Case Study: Issue Crisis
Independent Public Hospital

Event: Lawsuit-Mediation Announcement Company was in PROACTIVE MODE  Development of Integrated Issue Management Plan

Handling the Crisis
Crisis Communications Plan
  

Approved: March 9, 2010 Executed: March, April, May, June 2010 Plan Evaluation – Effectiveness Review: July 13, 2010

GOAL: Insure the continued reputation of hospital as the premier provider of healthcare and trauma services in the county. STRATEGY: Combat negative perceptions about hospital that may have arisen as a result of legal proceedings through a media campaign to highlight the accomplishments of the Trauma Program, physicians, and special capabilities.

Handling the Crisis
PLAN: Execute integrated positive publicity, paid placement and proactive media relations campaign
         

Meet with Editorial Board Meet with feature writer Organize CEO or leadership blogs Solicit Letters to the Editor Develop creative campaign for paid placement Create one page flyer for internal posting Draft and distribute PSA’s Create earned media photo-op event Create Feature News Release Secure Op-Ed Placement

Crisis Outcome: SUCCESS
 

 

Two featured opinion columns were placed One strongly favorable earned editorial (Op-Ed) was achieved Two favorable Business Editor commentary columns were achieved Three positive feature articles were achieved Accuracy and intent of article headlines improved dramatically 100% of potentially negative news packages were squashed Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) of earned media: $163,000

Case Study: Reputation Crisis
FBC – Florida’s Blood Centers
1. Year

long slow-burn in Orlando Sentinel over perceptions of lavish spending and inappropriate relationships (financial) between agency and board members. focus resulted in Senate hearings

2. Sentinel

3. Negative

attention is leading to steady string of board resignations

Crisis Details
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Brewing controversy over gift cards Outrage over CEO salary ($600+K) Senate Hearings – pledge of change Undisclosed CEO performance bonus Employee layoffs Orlando Sentinel calls for resignation

Note: EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO MANAGE REPUTATION REPAIR IF LEADERSHIP DOES NOT ACKNOWLEDGE PROBLEM!

Handling the Crisis
1. Arrogance toward Media
◦ ◦ ◦

◦ ◦

Stonewall attitude (“It’s just one newspaper!”) Policy of “No Comment” by Board Policy of not providing records (“We’re not in the sunshine.”) Policy of no interviews by media relations staff Policy of no editorial board contact (“They are the enemy!”)

2. No proactive reputation management
◦ ◦ ◦

Others (media, public) were allowed to define the story Community advocates were taken for granted Employees were ignored

Crisis Outcome: UNFAVORABLE
HEADLINE February 19, 2010

“Resign… In taking a pay hike and dragging her
lead blood bank.” feet on reform, the CEO has shown she's not fit to
FIRST CALL TO PR FIRM: February 20, 2010

Handling the Crisis
Crisis Communication Principles:

Never try to lie, deny or hide involvement. When the news is bad, tell the truth and tell is fast! If you ignore the situation it will only get worse.

• • •

Don't let the lawyers make the decisions!! While they are well intentioned it may cause the crisis to escalate
• •

The public and media decides what they are interested in – not us!

Protecting a reputation is far easier than repairing. Public relations professionals must serve as voices of caution and counsel!

Evaluate who wins: Court of Law versus the Court of Public Opinion?

Crisis Communication Planning
Development of Crisis Communications Plan Do It NOW! Meet with Senior Executives NOW! (tell it to sell it)
1. Plan
a. b. c.

2. Media

prep –media list, fact sheets, 3. Primary Contact Points – Front Desk Phones 4. Message Development – Develop Scenarios 5. Media Training for Company Executives 6. Protocols for Interested Media (Non-adversarial)

Guiding Principles Crisis Team – include contact grid; Update every 30 days Assign Key Roles (Contact Grid; Spokesperson)

elements

Questions and Answers

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