Follow up to an excellent event with the @PCC_Chicago with @FieldMuseumPR, @JayFoote and @rchilds59


Publicity Club of Chicago – 2010 Education Series “Kick It Up a Notch!”

Media Relations – February 2, 2010


Description: If you’re working in publicity and public relations, you’re probably doing some media relations work. But we know that today’s news organizations and how we relate to reporters have changed considerably. What are the most effective ways to reach reporters with our messages? What do reporters expect from us? Join our panel of experienced media relations experts for some insight into this important, foundation part of our work.



       Orly Telisman, Manager of Media Relations; The Field Museum – @FieldMuseumPR

       Jay Foot, Executive Director of Media Relations; Saint Xavier University – @JayFoote

       Ron Childs, Vice President for Media Relations; Flowers Communications Group – @rchilds59


Key Learnings from the Panel:

·         Explaining change of media coverage to clients

o    Question: how do you advise explaining to clients that the landscape of media placements is changing? That we may not be able to get a placement in a daily newspaper (due to cutbacks, closings and limited space), but we can get a piece online specific to the targeted consumer?

o    Answer: Think in terms of size.

§  May get a minuscule piece in paper, but can have an entire page online dedicated to your topic

§  There could be just one comment, but hundreds of visitors to the site would have seen

§  Utilize search engine optimization

·         Utilize social media to your advantage

o    Twitter alerts

o    Track follower/fan numbers on Twitter, Facebook, etc. for future use

§  Clients may not want to include immediately, but these numbers will be important for program recaps and/or future planning

§  Example (from Ron Childs): The Honda Battle of the Bands utilized social media platforms to create buzz and inform followers of the program

o    Don’t disregard blogs

§  Daily newspapers follow blogs, chance for story pick up

o    Media alerts – keep simple, but link to much more information

§  Send electronically, attach photos/videos, load body with hyperlinks / social media platforms

     ·         Reputation management (according to Jay Foot)

o    Sometimes it’s best to let a story run its course and not get involved

o    Example: The Daily Beast (American news reporter and opinion Web site) came to Saint Xavier University requesting a response for a soon-to-be-published story

§  Named SXU in top 5 most dangerous college campus in the US

§  Did not offer facts, sources, methodology or criterion for survey completed

§  Requested response within very short timeframe

o    Where SXU is located (19th ward in Chicago) = safest ward in the city [via campus and city data]

o    Did not respond to request after discussing with board, president, etc.

o    When Chronicle of Higher Education made request, granted and able to set the record straight

·         Find alternatives
            o    If a reporter does not see story as an immediate fit, work to connect with another story

§  Example: research / ask what other stories reporter is currently covering

o    Example (from Orly Telisman): Field Museum is not just a museum

§  It is a small university with scientists, botanists, paleontologists, etc.

§  If requiring an expert for a story, options are available

o    Lead out of prime time TV into news story

§  Connect pitch to TV show prior to the evening news

§  Example: crime show – news program commercial highlights decade-old murder mystery with additional clues to solve the case

§  Intrigues viewers and holds attention to watch news program

   o    I tried this strategy this week with 2 local food editors. Since they receive so many pitches my alternative is to make a connection with product from our client explaining we appreciate them consistently hearing about our stories and we thought the editors deserved to sample the product. I am hoping this will launch a relationship with the editors that will need to working on future stories.


  o    Maintain network with reporters

o    Set calendar reminders to check in with those good relationships formed



As you can see the panel shared all kinds of relevant information regarding media relations. I enjoyed their advice on how to proceed with media outreach and will incorporate these tips into my work life.

Looking forward to the next event this week – Getting to Know Chicago’s Blogs with panelists:

     Julie Deardorff, Health & Fitness Reporter – Chicago Tribune, Julie’s Health Club Blog (@Juliedeardorff)

    Andrew Huff, Editor & Publisher – Gapers Block (@gapersblock)  

     Tracy Schmidt, Editorial Director – (@ChicagoNow)

            –  With Lou Carlozo, Founder of Chicago “virtual bureau” of True/Slant moderating (@LouCarlozo63)



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