Opportunities Offered by Media Contact


In each of these cases, a meeting with the media represents a critical challenge to the organization. Some organizations see such challenges as problems to be overcome. It is more constructive, however, to view them as opportunities. Publicity cannot replace good works or effective action, but it can gain atten­tion for issues, ideas, or products. It can spotlight an organization's person­ality, policies, or performance. It can make something or someone known.

Every media contact is an opportunity to get feedback, to tell your story, to create a positive response to your organization. Of course there are dan­gers—but what opportunity presents itself without risk? And what opportu­nity can be taken without preparation?

Preparation Strategies

Preparation to meet the media is essential for both individuals and organi­zations. Preparation means more than getting psyched up about a particular interview, because when the opportunity comes, there may be little time to prepare, as the preceding cases suggest. In the first example, a company of­ficial would have only two hours to gather information and prepare strategy to deal effectively with some very sensitive issues. Before anyone in the organization meets with the media, the first step is to develop the proper set of attitudes. Meeting the media is an opportunity, not a problem; therefore, defensiveness is not appropriate. There is no need to feel intimidated—particularly if your objective is worthy. In the case of the university's fund-raising campaign, the purpose of the press conference must be kept firmly in mind. The public relations director should refuse, in a friendly way, to be dragged by reporters' questions into subjects other than the do­nation and campaign.

The attitude of the interviewee toward the journalist should be one of hospitality, cooperation, and openness. At the same time, the interviewee should realize that the reporter need not be the person in control. The interviewee should decide what needs to be said and say it—no matter what the reporter's questions may be. A positive mental attitude is essential. Once this attitude is established among everyone in an organization who may be called on to be interviewed, it becomes much easier and less traumatic to prepare for specific interviews. After the chief of police completes one interview successfully, the next will be more easily handled.

Before looking further at how individuals can interact successfully with the media, we will discuss how organizations can publicize themselves effec­tively.

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 research 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 various organizations differs in their attitudes toward media relations. The Oil Company Amerada Hess does not return 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 the Tylenol panic, and 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 qul-4h0nterests 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 systems, 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:

1. 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 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.


4. 1.Read the text.



Publicity is a broad term that refers to the publication of news about an or­ganization or person for which time or space was not purchased. The appeal of publicity is credibility. Because publicity appears in the news media in the form of a story rather than an advertisement, it receives what amounts to a third-party endorsement from the editor. Since the editor has judged the pub­licity material newsworthy, the public is not likely to perceive it as an adver­tisement. Publicity may, therefore, reach members of an organization's publics 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 guestions to the text.

1. 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.




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