Organizing Media Events
If you are lucky, some research findings or new business ventures wihtin your organization may be so potentially newsworthy, or relate so directly to current issues in public debate, that it is worth holding an event to bring everyone together--CEO, researcher and reporter. Events could include simple gatherings of key media professionals over breakfast or lunch -or more formal press conferences.
However, it is only worth organizing these events if they will add value to your organization. For example, if you are gathering journalists for a press briefing, it is worth asking what would they get from showing up at your event that they wouldn't get from reading a press release or talking to you on the phone? A free cup of coffee or a sandwich is not enough incentive to drag a busy journalist to your event. Think first: what's in it for the journalist - could they get a different twist on the story, an exclusive interview, or maybe the opportunity to hear the reactions of people with an interest in the research findings?
For individual or for small groups of media professionals, briefings can be useful as you can specifically tailor the information to meet the reporter's needs. It can also help you develop key relationships with media personnel.
Not all reporters like briefings as it's time-consuming for both you and them. Media briefings take a lot of preparation - you need to do alot of research, write a statement, prepare and rehearse.
Larger scale press conferences can be used to communicate a big story first hand to a large target group - if the news is big enough to justify such an event. A conference will provide a controlled environment for you to unveil your "big news" and to deal with media questions. You can control who you invite and can have your own fall-back questions afterwards if the reporters are passive.
If you decide to hold a press conference, below are some helpful tips:
1) Be selective about which journalists you invite.
2) Put together media kits containing press releases and fact sheets. They can also be sent to reporters who could not attend.
3) Choose your speakers carefully. Your audience will want to hear short and comprehensible presentations from dynamic presenters.
4)Use common language. Don't use acronyms!
5) Be certain that someone is designated as the moderator to keep the event flowing so it doesn't steer off track.
6) Watch the time!