Effective Media Relations

A good working relationship with the media is vital for a public relations writer.

There will always be areas of friction and disagreement between public relations people and journalists, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be a solid working relationship based on mutual respect for each other’s work, including journalists

A good working relationship with the media is vital for a public relations writer. Indeed, one definition of public relations is the building of relationship between the organization and its various publics.

Dealing with the Media

Many guidelines for dealing effectively with the media have been compiled. Most of j them are well tested and proven, but you must always remember that there are no ironclad rules. Media people are also individuals to whom a particular approach may or may not be applicable. Here’s a list of general guidelines.

  1. Know your media. Be familiar with the publications and broadcast outlets that are regularly used. Know their deadlines, news format, audiences, and needs. Do your homework on other publications and broadcast shows before sending a pitch letter or news material.
  2. Limit your mailings. Multiple news releases are inefficient and costly, and they alienate media gatekeepers. Send releases only to publications and broadcast outlets that would have an interest in the information.
  3. Localize. Countless surveys show that the most effective materials have a local angle. Take the time to develop that angle before sending materials to specific publica¬tions.
  4. Send newsworthy information. Don’t bother sending materials that are not newsworthy. Avoid excessive hype and promotion.
  5. Practice good writing. News materials should be well written and concise. Avoid technical jargon in materials sent to nontechnical publications.
  6. Avoid gimmicks. Don’t send T-shirts, teddy bears, balloon bouquets, or other frivolous items to get the attention of media gatekeepers.
  7. Be environmentally correct. Avoid giant press kits and reams of background ma¬terials. Save trees.
  8. Be available. You are the spokesperson for an organization. It is your responsibility to be accessible at all times, even in the middle of the night. Key reporters should have your office and home telephone numbers.
  9. Get back to reporters. Make it a priority to respect your promises and call repor¬ters back in a timely manner. They have deadlines to meet.
  10. Answer your own phone. Use voice mail systems as a tool of service, not as a screening device. Reporters (like other people) hate getting bogged down in the elec¬tronic swamp of endless button pushing.
  11. Be truthful. Give accurate and complete information even if it is not flattering to your organization. Your facts and figures must be clear and dependable.
  12. Answer questions. There are only three acceptable answers: «Here it is», «I don’t know but I’ll get back to you within an hour» and «I know but I can’t tell you now because…» «No comment» is not one of the three alternatives.
  13. Protect exclusives. If a reporter has found a story, don’t give it to anyone else.
  14. Be fair. Competing media deserve equal opportunity to receive information in a timely manner.
  15. Help photographers. Facilitate their work by getting people together in a cen¬tral location, providing necessary props, and supplying subjects’ full names and titles.
  16. Explain. Give reporters background briefings and materials so that they under¬stand your organization. Tell them how decisions were reached and why.
  17. Remember deadlines. The reporter must have enough time to write a story. One good rule is to provide information days or weeks in advance. In addition, don’t call a media outlet to make a pitch at deadlines time.
  18. Praise good work. If a reporter has written or produced a good story, send a complimentary note. A copy to the editor is also appreciated.
  19. Correct errors politely. Ignore minor errors such as misspelling’s, inaccurate ag¬es, and wrong titles. If there is a major factual error that skews the accuracy of the en¬tire story, talk to the reporter who wrote the story. If that doesn’t work, talk to the edi¬tor or news director.


to screen one’s calls — to find out who is calling on the telephone, especially by using an answering machine, so that you do not have to speak to somebody you do not want to speak to — «просеивать» звонки


alienate отдалять, отвращать
angle точка зрения, подход
applicable применимый
avoid избегать
compile составить
concise краткий, сжатый
deadline крайний срок
definition определение
device приспособление
exclusive эксклюзивное сообщение
facilitate облегчать
flatter льстить
guidelines правила, инструкции, директивы
ironclad rules «железные» правила
meet the deadline выполнить ч.-л. в срок
pitch letter рекламно-информационное письмо
priority первостепенная задача, приоритет
props реквизит
ream груда
skew исказить
take the time не торопиться
vital жизненно важный
voice mail system автоответчик


1)    Find the English equivalents in the text and use them in sentences of your own

  1. заранее
  2. взаимное уважение
  3. ысоко оценивать
  4. фактическая ошибка
  5. неправильное написание
  6. неэффективно
  7. достоверный факт
  8. пустяковая, ерундовая вещица
  9. приемлемый ответ
  10. бесчисленные опросы

2)    Find the words in the text which describe or mean the following

  1. rules or instructions about the best way to do smth. —
  2. a date or time by which you have to do or complete smth.-
  3. to add local interest material to a story —
  4. the thing that you think is most important and that needs attention before anything else —
  5. an important news story that is in only one newspaper, magazine, television news program etc. —

3)    Translate the following words and word-combinations into Russian. Make up sentences of your own

  1. to meet a deadline
  2. to miss a deadline
  3. to set a deadline
  4. to work under a tight deadline at deadline time
  5. to establish priorities
  6. a top/ high/ first priority
  7. to have/ take/ get priority
  8. to get one’s priorities straight/right

4)    Match the words (there can be more then one variant). Use them in sentences of your own

news rules
ironclad answer
news letter
acceptable director
pitch releases

5) Translate the following sentences into Russian:

  1. Lawyers examined reams of documents.
  2. Jackson’s comments alienated many baseball fans.
  3. t depends on your definition of success.
  4. Try approaching the problem from a different angle.
  5. Dividing students into small groups usually helps facilitate discussion.

6) Match the words which are close in their meaning:

regularly reliable
costly conflict
disagreement essential
solid constantly
vita expensive

7) Match the words which are opposite in their meaning:

frivolous redundant
timely flexible
flatter inopportune
ironclad criticize
concise sensible

8)    Answer the following questions:

  1. What should be done to know your media?
  2. How can you limit your mailings?
  3. Why is it important to localize your materials?
  4. What sort of information should be sent?
  5. How should news materials be written?
  6. Why should gimmicks be avoided?
  7. What does «to be environmentally correct» mean?
  8. Why should you be always accessible for the media?
  9. Why can’t «no comment» be one of the possible answers to reporters’ questions?
  10. In what way should you be fair to competing media?
  11. How can you help photographers ?
  12. In what way should you react to errors?

9) Can you explain the following

  1. Reporters (like other people) hate getting bogged down in the electronic swamp of endless button pushing.
  2. Countless surveys show that the most effective materials have a local angle.

10)  Translate the list of general guidelines in writing. Do you agree or disagree with the list?

11) Develop two or three items of the general guidelines which you find the most important.

Start with:

  • From the point of view of…
  • It has been pointed out that…
  • I’d just like to say…
  • I think (suppose, guess, believe, dare say).
  • Personally I believe…
  • In my opinion (view)…
  • As I see it…\