Time to Rethink Media Relations

After years of being in the doldrums, the journalism profession seems to be re-energized. The industry is turning the corner financially as new business models emerge, and the current political environment has given journalists a new sense of mission and energy to do their job.

In this new environment, media relations professionals need to rethink their strategies for getting their voices heard. At the 2017 Education Writers Association’s annual seminar (May 31-June 2) in Washington, DC, I led a session about this new environment for media relations.

Here are four takeaways from that and other sessions at the conferences.

  1. Think beyond the front page: It’s always been difficult to pitch a story for the front of a major newspaper. Today, it’s harder than ever. Look for alternatives, such as a feature in a national magazine or placing research into the hands of a media organization’s fact-checking website. Besides, the eyeballs you want may be getting their news from these sources.
  2. Be flexible: If you have your spokesperson booked for a cable news show, have a back-up plan. The ever-changing news cycle may bump you. Be prepared with alternative placements or social media posts.
  3. Go local: While the national press chases the latest developments, local papers still care about what’s happening in their community. If you have local angles to national stories, build your strategy around that.
  4. Offer the facts: Now more than ever, journalists are seeking the truth. They don’t want to share a variety of perspectives. Instead, they are cutting through the spin and seeking the facts. In fact, there’s a new type of journalism dedicated specifically to fact checking. If you have solid research, put it in their hands and let them know you’re a resource for the future.

For more about the conference, check out #EWA17 on Twitter or listen to the acceptance speech by the grand prize winner of EWA’s annual contest for reporting.

David Hoff
Senior Vice President, Education

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