Tools and tips for working with the media
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR EVENTS & THE MEDIA
When a Journalist calls
Journalists are looking for stories. The reality is they need stories that sell papers or are interesting to keep their readership engaged. In community publications and local newspapers there is a real opportunity to engage with the local community so getting a call from a journalist can be an opportunity to raise the clubs profile, in a good way.
If you have had an issue that has arisen in your club and the media get in touch with you, what would you do? Here are some things to think about.
Firstly don’t panic and take the opportunity to understand the request. The only comments you should ever make are ones you are completely sure of and they need to be said in a way that is understood and unambiguous. Listen to the enquiry and explore what it is the journalist or editor is looking for.
Write down what is being asked so that you can discuss it with others at your club or your state representative at Aeromodellers NSW.
THIS CAN BE AN OPPORTUNITY
The opportunity lies even in difficult situations. You want to have a good relationship with a media representative, if possible. If they are interested in aeromodelling and can help send a good message to the community then this is the opportunity for your club. They can also help in difficult situations if you know how to manage the communications.
It is important to collect all the facts before answering. Do not feel compelled to answer.
In a difficult situation it is important to discuss your response to the media with your club executive and if appropriate a member of the Aeromodellers NSW Executive before you make any comments, so that everyone becomes aware of the issues and can support the club executive. It is also helpful to get everyone up to speed with the issue so that no one is left uninformed about the events, issues or whatever else is occurring.
If you want to be proactive with an event coming up then consider this as an approach with your local media contact.
Prepare yourself for the conversation with a media release or an information sheet that has all the angles covered that would make a journalist want to write about your event or activities.
- The pilots who are flying, the types of aircraft they specialize in
- The other entertainment on the day
- Any special guests who have confirmed their attendance (assuming they are interested in that being published openly)
- Other house keeping issues that mothers are usually interested in – food and drinks available for purchase, parking, directions, when the event starts and ends, costs
- Anything else that will help the journalist understand who the audience is and what are the benefits for a person interested in the event.
Another thing that is helpful is if you have images that a journalist can use, or video footage. All these things can make the publishing of the story about your event in the local paper a whole lot more likely.
If you have the opportunity to get a poster created make sure that it is available so you can send it to the journalist via email.
Once you have a good relationship with a journalist or media person keep them informed so that they can continue to understand the activities in your club and may help with future promotions.
Note: when supplying images to journalists they should have people in them. We love our aircraft but a lone aircraft even in flight might not generate the interest that you want. When supplying photos make sure that you supply all the information that explains the photo. The people’s names, who they are in relation to the story as well as what the aircraft is and what is interesting about it. These need to be interesting to the general public.
When media are coming to an event it is important to make it as easy as possible for them to reach the people they need to as quickly as possible. It is also valuable in building up community awareness and increasing attendance for the next event.
Here are some things that may help in supporting your media engagement for your next event:
- Discuss with the journalist or media representative what they are looking for from the event? Is there a special angle they might like to explore, for example young pilots, Helicopters, quad copters, gilders, history of the sport, national or international events.
- Once you know what they are looking for then you need to understand who in the fleet of pilots attending, is a good candidate to speak about their area of expertise. Also provide them with some key questions that they can prepare to answer when being interviewed. Ensure that you have the correct spelling of their name and their contact details and what aircraft they are flying including its specifications.
- If any representative from local government is arriving make sure you have the media aware of the time that this guest is expected to arrive so that an interview can be arranged.
The person in charge of the event should also be interviewed to provide an overview of the event and what it represents.
- When is the media arriving and who will be coming including their contact details including email
- Pilots names and mobile numbers
- Bios of pilots and their flying experience
- Schedule of pilots and their aircraft
- VIP’s names and contact details
- Collection of images that can be used
DO YOU WANT TO JOIN A CLUB OR FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN BE MORE INVOLVED
Involvement can come in many different ways.
- Become a member to utilise all of the offerings of the various fields throughout the country.
- Volunteering is a great way to meet people who are already plugged into our clubs. Help is always needed when organising and setting up events.