How To Face Media (FEAR OF THE PRESS)

Hey guys, here is a yet more informative article. In this article we are discussing about “how to face media” and overcoming the fear with some real life facts and a few do’s and don’t s.

It’s ironic, but the press gets a very bad press. There are several reasons why you might find yourself at the sharp end of a journalist’s pencil; or the fluffy end of a radio mike; or the wide end of a TV camera.

If you’re running a campaign, you might want to use the media to publicise your cause. You might want to get some editorial coverage to help boost your business. You might witness a major accident (God forbid) or be involved in a dramatic rescue. You might find that the spotty oik you used to date in the fifth form has now become the latest rock god. You might even get off with someone famous and decide to pose half-naked and sell your kiss and tell to the News of the World.

Whether your motives are altruistic or purely for financial gain, it’s probably only a matter of time before you get your Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame. Much of this section deals with issues you might not traditionally regard as public speaking – but in fact, speaking to the media is likely to reach a bigger audience than any conference centre or village hall. Also, you’ll find lots of tips on writing press releases and other ways of attracting the media’s attention.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily involve speaking, but unless you know how to get onto the news agenda, you’ll never get the chance.

FEAR OF THE PRESS

You can hardly open a magazine now, or turn on the television, without some bleeding-heart celebrity complaining about press intrusion. The tragic death of Princess Diana also served to further blacken the name of the British newspaper industry. Much of the criticism has been well deserved and the crisis has made editors think twice about issues of intrusion and harassment.

However, a drawback of the negative coverage has been that ordinary people are often terrified of the press, fearing that their names will be dragged through the dirt; that they will be misquoted and misunderstood; or that they will be ridiculed. I must emphasise that this is not the case.

In the first place, you’re not a celebrity. It’s highly unlikely that anyone is going to go through your bins or try to trip you up into talking about something you would rather have kept quiet. Journalists are in the business of selling newspapers, it’s true. And celebrity scoops certainly have a big part to play in selling newspapers. But readers also love good luck stories, amusing anecdotes, tales of the triumph of ordinary people, and they adore the idea of people pulling together for a common cause.

“Look at the petrol crisis of summer 2000 – the press had a field day with the idea of people power. Ordinary truckers and farmers found themselves leading a national campaign that affected almost every area of British life and dominated the front pages for days on end. Those ordinary truckers and farmers had the chance to put their views across when they were interviewed by journalists. And the journalists were happy to reflect the nation’s views and give voice to the protesters.”

“Look too at the campaigns to find organ transplants for children. Here we have ordinary parents who found themselves in the extraordinary situation of having to fight for their child’s life. By going to the media with their plea, the search for a suitable donor instantly becomes national or world-wide. Countless lives have been saved, thanks to such campaigns.”

“When I was a cub reporter on a local newspaper, I launched a number of campaigns on issues affecting the town where I worked. But one of the stories I’m proudest of only affected a single family. A local woman had travelled to America on holiday but while there she had suffered a sudden and serious heart attack. Luckily, she had medical insurance and was able to secure the best hospital treatment. But she was so ill that doctors advised her husband to call their daughters to warn them that their mother was probably going to die any day. Amazingly, she pulled through and was able to fly home again in a matter of weeks. But on returning to the UK, she faced horrendous bills from all sides. Her husband had returned the hire car a day late and had been charged a hefty penalty fee. A credit card that had been used to make all those pricey transatlantic phone calls was demanding immediate payment because the charges were sky-high. Her husband had had to stay somewhere near the hospital. This sick woman was at her wits’ end when she turned up in our newspaper office, begging for any help we could lend. I must admit, I was sceptical – we were only a tiny local paper, with none of the sway held by the nationals. But by the end of the day, I had halved the bills. The credit card company waived some of the charges and agreed to take the rest of the payment in affordable monthly sums. The car hire company scrapped the penalty fee. We ran the story as the front page splash and various local organisations rushed to help. Not only were the financial headaches solved, but the woman in question was inundated with offers of help in other ways.”

If one story, in one small provincial newspaper, can do all that in one day, imagine what you can achieve for your campaign if you harness the power of the press.

OK, JOURNALISTS ARE OBVIOUSLY THE MOST WONDERFUL PEOPLE ON THE PLANET – WHAT NOW? Well, having allayed your worst fears, I would temper my advice with a few stern words of caution.

You can get what you want from the press if you’ve got something to say, you find the right people to say it to and you play it straight.

Let’s go through the process and we’ll find the most important dos and don’ts along the way.

The first thing you need to do is to think about whether anyone really cares about what you want to say. You need to present your story in the most newsworthy way, by thinking like an editor.

SIMPLE DOS & DONT’S

DO tell the truth.

DO make sure the journalist or interviewer knows how to spell and pronounce your name.

DO make sure the journalist or interviewer knows your job title and company, or your position within the campaign – whatever background information is appropriate.

DO prepare for any interview by thinking about what questions are likely to be asked.

DO mug up on facts and figures – have them written down if you think you might forget.

DO try to chat to the interviewer or journalist beforehand, to make sure they’re au fait with the subject.

DON’T try to tell them anything off the record – this is very dangerous and different people sometimes have different interpretations of what ‘off the record’ means.

DON’T ask to see the copy before it is published or broadcast. Most journalists will be highly offended by this. If they want you to see it – or any part of it – to check matters of fact, they’ll ask you.

DON’T let your emotions get the better of you – especially anger and especially if it’s directed at the journalist. If your story is sad and you become upset, that’s different, but take a deep breath and try to pull yourself together – you’re there because you have something to say – don’t waste your opportunity. Cry all you like after the interview.

DON’T criticise those who disagree with you. Name-calling just comes across as childish and will take the focus away from the issues.

DO retain good manners and good humour throughout, however rattled you might be.

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