How to Coordinate with the Media for Events/Programs
1.If you want someone to attend an event, s/he needs to decide if the event is useful, relevant or interesting before s/he decides to come. To make that decision, s/he needs information about the event. S/he needs to know what the event exactly is, who else is attending, where is it taking place, for how long, its relevance etc. It is the same with journalists. Remember, many times, journalists do not attend not because they do not want to,
as many would assume, but because they do not get proper invitation, or on time, do not get all the relevant information required etc.
Prepare a simple, short and clear invitation about the event or activity. Tell why the event is important, relevant or interesting. A big or famous shot might be attending it. Or it might be very timely and relevant in a given context. Or the event as such might not be important but you might be doing
it in a very interesting, different or a novel way.
2.In the invitation, mention clearly the date, place and time of the event or activity.
3.Provide the name and contact address of person who will give additional details if wanted. The journalist might need additional details before she can decide to attend or not. Give mobile number if possible.
4.Fax out the invitation. Confirm receipt through telephone call. Email it as well but do not rely only on email.
5.Address the invitation to the editor. CC it to the 'beat reporter' (journalist reporting on the issue concerned) if possible.
6.Send the invitation about two days in advance. The day before the event, call the media concerned to find out if a reporter has been assigned, and if it is possible to get her/his contact number. You can usually find this out without calling up the editor. Do not call the editor for petty issues.
7.Sometimes you will get information about who has been assigned. At other times, you may not. If you are lucky enough to get it, contact the reporter assigned. Call her/him up to ask if s/he is attending. Try explaining why s/he should attend (again, talk about relevance, importance, interesting aspect etc) if you do not find her/him very interested. But do not insist or pester.
8.As far as possible, do not orga nize in place that is far for journalists to attend. Do not organize during hours that are inconvenient for them, i.e. in early morning and late evening.
9.Assign someone who will deal with the journalists, if possible. But journalists should not be accompanied or occupied throughout. In fact, they should be left by themselves to do their job. Treat journalists well (but do not flatter). If there is eating arrangement, make sure that they eat before they leave. Thank them for coming.
10.Prepare a brief write up about the event that you can hand it to the journalists before they leave. This is important for accuracy. Usually the press release you have prepared can serve this purpose. Print it out and get it ready.
11.Respond to what they report about the event afterwards. Appreciate if you like it. If you differ, say it politely. In both cases, thank her/him for reporting. To tell a journalist that you have read what s/he has written/reported is the greatest tributethat you can give to her/him.
12.If you know someone in the media concerned, you can always take her/his help. However, remember that manipulation might turn out to be harmful.
13.Some events, by their very nature, generate media attention, others do not. You need to understand what kind of event will get media attention and what will not. Sometimes an event might be important to your organization but not to the media. In that case, it is unlikely that you will get media attention and coverage even if you put lot of efforts. If media attention and coverage is important to you, consider if the event will be interesting to the media before you decide to organize it.
14.Do not coincide the date of your event with other more important events that is taking place. The more important events will take up media attention and space.
15.You can always position or present an event in ways that appeal to journalists. But do not lie or twist the details. If you succeed in bringing journalist to an event by doing so, it is likely that s/he will not report it. It is also likely that s/he will not attend your next event, even if it is important.
16.Doing media coordination for events will be much easier if you develop relations with the media and communicate with them on a regular basis. For this, you need to work on it consistently and over a period of time. Prepare a list of journalists who write and report on issues you work with. They
are the ones that you should approach first.
17.Like in many other things in life, getting media attention and coverage also depends a bit on luck. You think that a particular event is very important, relevant and interesting, and you work very hard at media coordination but it is possible you end up getting no or less media attention and coverage. But at other times, you might have an event that you think is not very important, relevant and interesting and you put less effort, but you find that every newspaper write about it. What is important is not to be discouraged if you fail once and jump to the conclusion as media being ina
ccessible and irresponsible .