How to get the most out of the press

Just doing a good job isn't enough any more. We are in a competitive environment these days; and the local newspaper is an important channel for communicating good news about your organisation. As a manager, you must know how to work effectively with representatives of the print media to build support for your organisation. Reporters appreciate cooperative, accurate, and available sources for their stories; so here are some useful tips for getting the best deal from your local journalists...

1. Know your local newspaper contacts.

Is your organisation one that might be able to use the print media more effectively than others? If so, you'll need to get to know your local news-paper reporters as soon as possible. Meet with them personally over coffee or lunch, and ask how you can meet their informational needs. Act on the practical advice they give you.

2. Develop procedures for generating good news stories.

Set up an internal reporting system through which your staff can funnel news and feature story ideas to one person who has the responsibility for working with the newspaper. A good backlog of story possibilities may be just what the reporter needs on a slow news day. Develop attractive news release formats for future use, and facts sheets and background materials for distribution to the press on a range of company themes and issues.

Become familiar with the skilful art of writing a news release.

3. Respond promptly to all inquiries from the press.

If a reporter calls and you are busy, make sure you get back to the caller as soon as possible or you may miss the paper's deadline.

Always be aware of deadlines. Both weekly and daily newspapers have to work to fixed deadlines. Remember, old news is no news - so work to those deadlines.

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