Research and Planning in Media Relations

The old saying "Success is when opportunity meets preparation" is never truer than when applied to publicity. As we showed in earlier chapters, preparation indicates and planning. , In media relations, research means knowing whom you are dealing with and what they are interested in. Media relations' specialists, deal primarily with their own management and with the media, so they must understand both parties well. The management of Jailed-organizations differs in their attitudes toward media relations. The Oil Company Amerada Hess does not retail calls from the press. Procter & Gamble encourages coverage of its products, but not it's manufacturing processes. Bank of America during recent financial problems, Johnson & Johnson during Tylenol panic, end AT&T during deregulation all benefited from their candor and openness during difficult times. In each case, media relations strategy was based on an understanding of management's desired approach. After understanding the organization, the publicist must study the specific media with which he or she will work. Research in this area consists of finding quI-4hOnterests and needs of the people affiliated with the various media outlets. Media guides can provide some of this information. Effective media relations specialists also maintain their own file systemt rolodexes, and charts to keep track of the personal qualities and preferences of the media people with whom they work. Publicity plans can deal with an organization's overall efforts or with a specific situation or campaign. In general, media plans will describe the circumstances with which the organization is dealing, lay out goals or objectives, identify key audiences, specify strategies, list action steps, identify, special media to be contacted, and provide for evaluation.

2. Say wtether it is right or wrong and what is your opinion on the following:

I. The best advice in dealing with the media is to give journalists what they want in the form and language they want. Respond quickly and honestly to media requests for information. 2. Once relationships are established, protect and cherish them.

3. Translate from English into Russian. Do not squander valuable relationships by using them for small favors or one-shot story placements. Do not ruin a relationship by expecting a reporter to always do what you want. Take no for an . answer. Do not insult your relationship with inappropriate gifts journalists are sensitive to even the appearance of conflicts of interest.

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Publicity is a broad term that refers to the publication of news about art organization or person for which time or space was not purchased. The appeal of publicity is oredibility. Because publicity appears in the news media in the form of a story rather than an advertisement, it recelves what amounts to a third-party endorsemens from the editor. Since the editor has judged the publicity material newsworthy, the public is not likely perceive it as an advertisement. Publicity may, therefore, reach members of an organizations public who would be suspicious of advertising. Publicity can be divided into two categories: spontaneous and planned. A major accident , fire, explosion, strike, or any other unplanned event creates spontaneous publicity. When such an event occurs, news media will be eager to find out the causes circumstances, and who is involved. While spontaneous publicity is not necessarily negative, it should be handled through standing plans.

Planned publicity, on the other hand, does not originate from an emergency situation. It is the result of a conscious effort to attract attention to an issue, event or organization. Time is available to plan the event and how- it will be communicated to the news media. If a layoff, plant expansion, change in top personnel, new product, or some other potentially newsworthy event is contemplated, the method of announcing it is a major concern. How an organization's publics perceive an event can determine whether 'publicity is "good" or "bad."

2. Answer the questions to the text.

I. Into what categories can publicity be devided?

2. What is spontaneous publicity?

3. What is planned publicity?

4. What determines wherther publicity is "good" or bad"'?

3. Translate the text into Russian.


Communication between certain public relations practitioners and jour-nalists is massive., Some public relations offices send out news' releases daily. Additionally, personal contact and communication may be initiated by either party. The amount of communication ,between journalists and public relations practitioners is a measure of their dependency on one another. In some •in-stances, public relations practitioners provide more useful information to spe-cific media than do the journalists those media employ. Through the efforts of public relations practitioners, the media receive a constant flow of free information. Facts that journalists might not have acquired otherwise become available in packaged form. The reporter or editor, as we noted above, can then decide what is newsworthy. As the editor of an Ohio daily newspaper remarked with relish, "I'm the guy who says 'yes' or 'no', the pbblie'relations man has to say 'please.' " That editor's assessment of journalists' power is strictly accurate only when public relations practitioners and journalists share no dependency. When interdependency exists, journalists retain nominal veto power over incoming information, but they abdicate much of their decision-making responsibility to public relations practitioners who select and control material given out: While journalists may reject one or another news release, they depend on the constant flow of infomiation from representatives of important institutions. To a large extent, journalists are processors of infonnation passed on -by public relations practitioners who do the primary gathering. Under these circumstances, journalists' main means of control becomes their ability to refuse to deal with public relations practitioners who fail to meet subjective standards. Even such rejection is impossible, though, when the public relations practitioner is firmly entrenched in the institution.

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