Don’t wait for a crisis to meet your media

Several of us had the good fortune earlier this week to meet with two experienced journalists in Albany. Jay Jochnowitz is the new editorial page editor of the Albany Times-Union . Susan Arbetter is the NPR correspondent in the state Capital. Her show Capitol Pressroom runs live each morning from 10 to 11 and then in various iterations through the day.

Our conversations prompted a few thoughts that might help those among you who don’t have a ton of media relationships.

They need content. That’s the story you have to tell.

Don’t wait until crisis mode hits to meet them.

Don’t waste their time with promotional ideas.

Try to tie what you want to speak about with events happening around you.

They are real people who will treat you fairly as long as you continue to earn it.

This all adds up to the admonition that if your first brush with media is when you are in full crisis mode, you’ve added exponentially to the problems you have.

Journalists are reasonable people who tell stories. Recount your story now, when it’s good and relevant. Create relationships with reporters and editors. Know who covers your industry, especially if yours is not one that gets a lot of standard media attention.

Invite them out for coffee. Find out who they are and what requirements and pressures they face each day. See how best to help them.

I’m not suggesting that you try to co-opt them; with these two individuals for sure, you cannot. But you can create and keep open lines of communication that will help you get the facts out when you are in crisis mode.


About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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