THE MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS. NOTES 4.

SO WHAT DOES A JOURNALIST OR CAMERAMAN WANT ... ?


The first question we ask is: “Does this story affect peoples’ lives?” If it doesn’t, the story goes in the bin.


The second question is: “Can we illustrate this story on TV and radio?” If it doesn’t have good pictures, then if the reporter doesn’t throw the story in the bin, the programme producer will.


The third question is: “Can we put a human face on it?” a good news editor will throw a wobbly if the piece is full of grey, middle aged, middle class, middle management men in suits.


You need to think of something out of the ordinary.


A good idea can go a long way. And it doesn’t have to be a big idea, it doesn’t have to be a grand scheme, it just has to be something that touches the lives of other people.



If media outlets of all varieties do not constantly attract people to watch, listen or read, they will very soon cease to exist.  TV producers have a constant neurosis that if their programme is less interesting than whatever is on the other channels, viewers will switch over and not come back.


So the driving force behind your story is a couch potato with a remote control and a very short attention span. Therefore on television a weak news story with strong pictures may be favoured over a strong story without illustration.












Before a camera crew arrives, think about possible filming locations. Help them to achieve the best possible pictures. Find an interview position which will place you in the most favourable situation.


Often the interview will be done outdoors, to take advantage of natural light. Lighting indoors can be difficult and time-consuming. Neither you nor the television crew may have half an hour to spare.


















Often the interview will be conducted first. Once the pressure is off, the reporter will frequently request a series of shots to establish who the interviewee is and why he or she is being interviewed.


At its worst, this is an MP walking past the House of Commons, from which the viewer learns nothing. The reporter will ask you to carry out everyday tasks - chatting to staff, take a cup of coffee in the cafeteria, deal with a telephone call, inspect equipment, park a car and get out of it, etc.


You may be asked to do the same sequence of events several times, to enable me, camera crew to film it from different angles - wide shots, close-up shots of hands, pans from left to right and then from right to left. This always takes more time than the interview, but it is just as important to you.


In time, you will get a reputation with the media for being helpful. One day, you’ll get pay-back.



Give the journalists the opportunity to use their imagination during their time with you, and your few hours of preparation will be richly rewarded. An outstanding job by the television crew may result in a stunning portrayal of your business. Whatever the tone of the story, an impression of your organisation can be given to millions of viewers with an authority and sincerity that no amount of advertising could ever buy.


As a television camera crew, i typically walk around with £50,000 of kit capable of taking astonishing pictures in an extraordinary range of situations. The range of devices a reporter can use to tell the story is equally impressive.











Often they are under enormous time pressure. They may be competing against four other crews to get the same shots and interviews, and will rush away with the bare minimum needed to string 90 seconds of story together.


Is that because the media facility you have arranged is inadequate, ill-timed and inappropriate? Would it have been better to get tv people in the day before to prepare their material properly? Or at least, get them in at nine in the morning instead of mid-afternoon, three hours before transmission? Don’t hold media events in the afternoon. Full stop. No argument. Because it doesn’t leave tv with any time to put a decent report together.

MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS TO ATTRACT MEDIA ATTENTION, AND TO GET THE RIGHT KIND OF PUBLICITY IS NO EASY TASK WHEN DEALING WITH THE MEDIA.


THESE NOTES AND ARTICLES HAVE BEEN WRITTEN TO HELP AND INFORM PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICIALS. WE DEAL WITH ALL KINDS OF PR PEOPLE FROM THE VERY GOOD TO THE DOWNRIGHT AWFUL.


IF YOU ARE A SEASONED PUBLIC RELATIONS EXPERT OR A PR NEWBIE FRESH FROM UNIVERSITY, THEN THESE PAGES MAY HELP YOU WHEN DEALING WITH THE LIKES OF ME ......

Think of somewhere more interesting than an office. “Manager in office” is dull television and will do you no favours.


Think about a factory floor, a school, somewhere that is normally inaccessible. Think about maintenance workers, even a staff canteen (for industrial relations issues.)