Tag Archives: media

Media Questions During A Crisis

newsIt’s difficult to prepare for a crisis, particularly one that involves media coverage.

To help prepare, here is a list of the most commonly asked questions by the media to serve as a general guide.

Big? picture, journalists are likely to ask six primary questions in a crisis: who, what, where, when, why, and how. They will relate to five broad topics:

  1. What happened?
  2. What caused it to happen?
  3. What does it mean?
  4. Who is to blame?
  5. What are you doing to ensure it does not happen again?

Of course, only some will apply but this comprehensive list of questions is a good start to prepare you and your team for the next crisis:

77 Questions Commonly Asked by Journalists During a Crisis

Read more after the jump…

Live, Baby, Live! Storytelling on Facebook Livestream

Facebook Livestream tips for on location

Facebook Livestream tips for on location

Facebook Livestream has brought communicators a fabulous storytelling tool for clients. Whether you are looking to cover an event, launch a new product, host a seminar or share news, it is a simple way to engage specific target audiences.

In fact, I recently worked with a local television station partner to amplify messaging for a public education campaign via Facebook Livestream on location and wanted to share a few tips:

• Once you determine a date/time, share that information across your social platforms to help gain an audience; repost it during and after with links to the livestream, as appropriate.
• Scout out a location beforehand and determine connections, best lighting, areas with the least noise/interruptions, etc.
• If you are outside, check on the placement of the sun and shading. Read more after the jump…

Journalism and a Trump White House: What are the PR Takeaways?

Saturday Night Live Sean Spicer Press Conference SkitNo matter what side of the aisle your political beliefs fall, it’s hard not to watch the very public antagonistic relationship President Trump and his administration are having with the media.

While President Obama had his fair share of scuffles with the media, they didn’t get the kind of attention President Trump’s school-yard battles are getting now. After several decades during which the media has lost trust, credibility and interest among Americans, will the new President bring back the Fourth Estate to its former glory?

I recently came across a Politico article titled: Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again. According to the article, there’s always been a quid pro quo in Washington, where journalists groom sources, but sources also groom journalists. “There’s nothing inherently unethical about the back-scratching. When a reporter calls an administration source to confirm an embarrassing item, the source may agree to confirm as long as the reporter at the very least agrees to listen sympathetically to the administration’s context.”

Read more after the jump…

“Four Email Subject Lines That Make Everyone Hate You”…Including Media

emailGiven reporters rarely respond to the first email, just about every PR-professional has had follow-up via email or a phone call.

I recently came across this Fast Company article that I think can also apply to emails you send reporters: “Four Email Subject Lines That Make Everyone Hate You.” Here are some of the lines that the article calls out as ones to avoid:

Read more after the jump…

Consuming a Balanced Information Diet is Harder Than You Might Think

No matter where you stand on politics, these past few months have sure been a roller coaster. And whether you’re currently at the high point or the low, there’s no doubt that algorithms from Google to Facebook are feeding you news and information that align closely with your personal beliefs and validating your position.

The Benefit and Challenge of Algorithms

Eli Pariser's illustration of a filter bubble.

Eli Pariser’s illustration of a filter bubble.

Algorithms aren’t new, and as communications professionals we benefit from their ability to help serve information directly to our target audiences. But as conscious consumers, algorithms can present challenges that are perhaps amplified in light of this recent election.

Interestingly, this 2011 TEDTalk by Eli Pariser, founder of Upworthy, has been circulating the Twittersphere lately and while the talk, titled “Beware online ‘filter bubbles,’” is five years old, it’s pretty incredible how little seems to have changed. Read more after the jump…

Don’t Waste the Spotlight

At its essence, crisis communications is about taking external negativity and finding a way to transform it into a positive. Are you a business that made a mistake? Find a way to impress your customers with how you responded. They’ll forgive you.

The Cincinnati Zoo ignored this principle when it shut down its Twitter account two months ago in the face of cyberbullying trolls who inundated it with memes and attacks over the death of its beloved gorilla, Harambe. As PRWeek reported:

“The zoo has been the target of keyboard critics since May, after a boy fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, and zookeepers shot and killed Harambe, a 17-year-old silverback gorilla, to save the child’s life. Since then, Harambe has turned into a source of myriad internet memes.”

The Cincinnati Zoo had a spotlight on it, and instead of finding a way to withstand the pressure and use the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to its mission, it chose to run and hide. Standing up in the heat of a crisis is never easy, but it speaks to what you are as an organization, to your core values.

The Cincinnati Zoo could have used the spotlight to engage the community. It could have developed a program to support a gorilla conservation initiative, or created elementary and middle school curriculum that could be used in schools to educate children about gorillas.

And more than anything, it could have earned goodwill from the community by responding to the ridiculous barbs in a dignified and respectable manner. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “It is amazing how reasonable you can look when your opponents are unhinged lunatics*.”

The Cincinnati Zoo finally restored its Twitter account last week, but the damage has already been done and the opportunities have already been missed.

*Lincoln may have never said that.

Study Finds Americans Differ on the Value Media Provides

mediaNot surprisingly, Americans disagree about how the media cover the news, and what they believe are the media’s best and worst traits. According to a Pew Research Center study that was conducted in early 2016, Americans were asked to share what they thought were the most positive and negative things the news media do.

The most positive thing the media do, according to 30 percent of respondents, is to report the news. Next, 25 percent say the media provide a public service, like providing information or serving as a watch dog. Last, people say the media share uplifting stories (8 percent).

Read more after the jump…

The Shrinking Denver Media Landscape

crumpled-newspaperThe shrinking Denver media just got even smaller. Last week, the Denver Post announced that 20 journalists took buyouts, and it was followed by an unknown number of additional layoffs.

This brings the total number of newspaper reporters working for Denver’s only metropolitan daily to less than 100. In perspective, 10 years ago, there were an estimated 400 journalists working for either the Post or the now-closed Rocky Mountain News.

Without getting into the critical role the media plays in our community, here are a couple points to consider as we work on behalf of our clients to navigate the Denver media landscape:

Build relationships: It will be nearly impossible to catch the attention of a journalist, let alone build ongoing relationships with the new crop of reporters. Just think, there are 90 journalists, half of which work behind the scenes, covering a metro area with 2 million people.

Strong pitches:  Getting a client’s news in the newspaper will be even more of a challenge, and only the best pitches will succeed. Strong news hooks and trends remain important. Read more after the jump…

AP Style Alert: Don’t Capitalize “Internet” or “Web”

CfC8A9LWQAMsHF_For all of the copy editors, grammar nerds, journalists and language style sticklers, there is news of a relatively big-ish change in the rules.

As of June 2016, The Associated Press, AP for short, is updating its rules to lowercase the words “internet” and “web” in all instances, including web page, the web, web browser.

The AP Stylebook is a media and business standby, and offers a guide in grammatical correctness and language nuance. What’s behind the change? Some wordsmith bloggers are saying that it marks the inclusion of the Internet (uppercase here since rules are not in effect yet) in our culture and expansion of the meaning of the word.

Read more after the jump…

Reporter Talks About Being Human In Goodbye Column

Jack Broom Seattle Times

Using the two-way radio in a photographer’s car, Jack Broom calls the newsroom with the details of a breaking story in 1978. (Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)

Over the years, I’ve read many farewell columns by retiring or transitioning journalists.

Even before the profession hit this sustained downturn, I mostly thought these columns were self-serving, focusing on the glory days of news reporting, and self-aggrandizing about news stories uncovered.

With so many departing journalists, the farewell column has become cliché, and editors are surely loathed to provide the opportunity to all those leaving. And readers, remember them, aren’t interested.

This week, however, I came across a particularly poignant goodbye column by a reporter retiring from The Seattle Times after nearly 40 years.

Jack Broom was a general assignment reporter, which means he usually covered the big stories of the day, and when there wasn’t breaking news, he would work on occasional feature stories. General assignment reporters are a special breed; they can cover a legislative hearing one day and a volcanic eruption the next with the same grace and poise.

Broom started reporting when newsrooms were filled with typewriters, and over the years had the dubious honor of writing obituaries for his colleagues. There are few journalists left like him.

Broom saw his role as a journalist quite simply. “My goals have been straightforward: To tell readers something about the community and world they live in, and — if possible — help them enjoy the time they spent with the newspaper.”

Read more after the jump…