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Giving a talk...

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Rosie, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    Not that I don't have too much to do this week already. :'( ;)

    I've been asked to give a talk about publicity, press releases and contacting the media on Saturday for a huge conference being held for adult leaders of a youth organization. I have no idea how many people -- this is a day-long event with many different 'classes' being held.

    Can anyone think of constructive and helpful points I should make sure to add to my talk? I've been revising a handout that I put together for a talk for a business group a couple years ago , but this week is going to be extremely stressful for me and I don't want to miss some obvious point.

    Thank you.
  2. Del_B_Vista

    Del_B_Vista Active Member

    Make sure you have handouts with contact information (phone and/or e-mail) for the right folks in the newsroom to receive community news input, harder news stuff, sports results, photos, etc.

    Talk about deadlines.

    Talk about realistic expectations. Not everything they e-mail in automatically gets a news story. How does your paper handle community news? Series of briefs? Photos? What days of the week does it run?

    Explain/give examples of the threshold that elevates something from a list o' names/photo to a news story.

    Make sure you don't promise anything, but explain the process and create realistic expectations.

    Edit: BTW, I would move this thread to the Journalism board. Figure it'd be less likely to devolve there.
  3. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    I should clarify.

    This talk won't be specific to one paper, there will be youth leaders from three states in attendance. One thing I've been asked to address is finding newspaper/television contacts -- something which seems obvious to us in the business. (Or, in my case, was in the business till recently.)

    Going back on my own experiences, I plan on addressing deadlines and the reality that not everything submitted will make it into publication.
  4. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    I thought this was going to be about THE TALK. Y'know, the one moms give.
  5. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Oh, the one where mom says, "You ... just don't get used to it. Sometimes a mom knows these things"?
  6. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Here are some slightly amended notes for a talk I did on "How to make the media work for you" at a conference of amateur sports organizations a couple of months ago. You're welcome to use what applies:

    rule number 1: LET US KNOW.
    Appoint a contact person a couple of weeks before the event. Have them call or send an e-mail, explaining the event coming up. When it is. Where it is. How many competitors are coming and where they’re from. Whether it’s an Atlantic or a provincial or a district or a neighbourhood competition. What time it starts and what time it finishes.
    That allows two things: it allows us to put it on the radar screen and plan coverage. Is a reporter available? Is a photographer available to shoot the event? The more advance notice we have, the more likely we’ll be able to plan some sort of coverage.
    If we can’t provide live coverage; the contact person should also be the one who can provide us with results after the event. The more detail you can provide, the more helpful, and the better the coverage we can provide to follow up.
    2. IS THERE A HOOK?: We’re always looking for good “hooks” – good angles on stories. Are there identical twins competing against each other? Is the cross country runner a champion fiddler in her spare time? Is there an interesting story to be told, and is the competitor available to tell it?
    I went to the UNB athletic banquet last year, and it wasn’t until then that I found out that Carla Murphy, a competitor on the UNB team, also had a 4.3 grade point average in pre-med classes at the school. I would have loved to be able to sit down with her and find out how she did it.
    If we know that stuff beforehand, we can tell the story, say she’ll be competing at this weekend’s event, and so on.
    3. FOLLOW UP.
    It’s important that, if we provide “advance” coverage, promoting the event, that we be able to follow up with results.
    If we can’t have a reporter there, then organizers should be prepared to send in results – COMPLETE results. Often, we’ll get a call from a women’s hockey team, for example: We went to Sussex and we lost 10-5. The people who scored our goals were:
    We can’t use it. It’s incomplete. It only tells half the story. And while you’re at it, please spell out names correctly: Nothing is more irritating to Grammy or Grampy Jones than to have the name spelled incorrectly. Jane could be J-A-N-E. Or J-A-Y-N-E. Tom could be T-O-M or T-H-O-M. John could be J-O-H-N or J-O-N, or, in the case of the Cleveland Indians shortstop for instance J-H-O-N. The one that gives me trouble is ZACK. Is it Zack with a K. Zach with an H. Zac with a C? And how many different ways can you spell Meghan? Is there a G in there? An H? Is it AN or EN? People don’t get mad at the people who named their kids and spelled them out on the birth certificate that way. They get mad at the paper.
    4. IF YOU CAN, SHOOT: We can’t promise anything, but if you have a volunteer who can provide a shot to support your information, it might help enhance coverage. Often, we’re able to arrange a photographer, but there’s no guarantee. Often he can only spend 10 or 15 minutes at an event, if he’s there at all. So if you have an amateur photographer who can squeeze off a shot and you want to file it with the information, we’ll have a look. Again, no promises. It’s subject to space limitations and quality of the photo, just to name two criteria. And we can’t run every team shot of kids holding one finger in the air to indicate they’re number one. We have strict criteria for team shots: they run if a team has achieved a district or provincial championship. Some hockey teams win five different tournaments over the course of a winter and want their photo in the paper five times. It’s the same picture, with a different banner. Our space is valuable, to us, and to readers. We have to make the best use of it we possibly can.
    I know the title of this workshop is “How to make the media work for you” and it seems like you’re doing all the work.
    What you’re doing though, as an amateur organization, is competing. You’re competing for space in the newspaper, for attention in the media. We have, on a good day, five pages, three or four of them with ads on them. You’re competing with the major sports leagues: NHL, Major League Baseball, NFL, NBA; as well as some staples of local sports: university and high school sports; elite hockey, whether it be midget AAA, or high school or senior or whatever. Basketball, volleyball. We try to strike a balance between local sports and national and international sports, but our priority is local sports and local athletes, because it’s our philosophy as a department to give you something to read that you can’t get anywhere else.
    People say “Why don’t you just add another page?” I wish it were that easy. But the size of the paper, and the size of the sports section in it, are determined by a delicate ratio of advertising to “news hole” – how much room there is for news in the paper.
    There are also “design elements” to consider: what makes a page look good and draws the reader into the pages so they’ll read about the event you’re trying to promote. Photos and headlines and “logos” are all a part of that. It’s why we don’t just give you five grey pages every day – how likely are you to navigate around to read the information if it’s not presented in an attractive or interesting way.
    As reporters and editors, we have to make decisions every day on what goes into the paper and where – whether it’s a brief, or on Page 1 with a picture, or “buried” somewhere because the information isn’t as complete as it should have been. A few simple steps on the part of those of you planning the event can make all the difference.
  7. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    1. Send hunstie.
  8. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    She used to be so much more fun when she didn't limit us with words like "constructive advice."
  9. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    Send more than four blitzers after McCown on 4th Down.
  10. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

  11. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    That's usually my downfall, too.
  12. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Who peed in your corn flakes this morning?
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