While organisations increasingly have strong and unmediated relationships with their residents, customers or stakeholders, newspapers, TV, radio and bloggers can all help you massively in getting your message across.
But working with the media can be tricky. They’ll ask you all sorts of questions – including the ones you’re not keen on answering. They’ve got all sorts of needs, agendas (positive and negative) and distractions. Working with television is different from briefing the local print or online newspaper. A longer term documentary production takes a differing approach from a local news reporter with 30 seconds to get their story across in an interesting and fast-paced way for fear the viewer switches away.
I know because I’ve been there – working on Scotland on Sunday for eight years, working for the Herald in Glasgow, working for a trade publisher and freelancing across print, TV and radio. And I’ve also been there working with the media for business clients, for NHS Lothian and for Midlothian Council when the questions have been aggressive and the media interest relentless and unabating. On the upside, I’ve also harnessed the media for social good – packaging stories around HIV to ensure the issue got coverage, using the media to tell my organisation’s tale. I’ve also helped people put the media in context. One thing I’ve never done though is ignore the media – and neither should you.