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Title: Strategic%20Communications%20Training%20%20X%20State%20MDA

Strategic Communications Training
X State MDA
Media Relations
  • Media Strategies Media Tools

Welcome Note
  • Opening Remarks
  • Programme Information

Training Objectives
  • Ensure that Ministry officials understand the
    value and importance of developing and
    maintaining good relations with the media.
  • Provide guidance, proven approaches and tools
    for developing solid, constructive, professional,
    mutually beneficial relations between MDAs and

Roadmap for the Day
  • Media Relations Skills for MDAs
  • Benefits, Advantages Disadvantages
  • Media Management, Strategies Plans
  • Understanding the Media Dealing with
  • Countering the Brown Envelope Syndrome
  • Writing Press Releases
  • Planning a Media Event
  • Group Exercise
  • Coffee Break
  • Interview Skills
  • Group Exercise
  • Evaluations

Media Relations Skills for MDAs
  • Why engage in Media Relations?
  • Improve organisation
  • Higher and better media profile
  • Change attitudes of target publics
  • Improve relationships with other MDAs and Lagos
    State citizens
  • Influence public opinion

Media Relations - Benefits
  • Improve the MDA reputation, public image, brand
  • Higher media profile
  • Change attitudes of target publics
  • Improve relationships with the community
  • Influence government at local, regional, national
    or international level
  • Improve internal communications

Advantages of using the Media
  • What are the main advantages really?
  • Distribution channels are already in place
  • No financial cost-- only time, resource costs
  • Exception pay-to-play/ brown envelope
  • General and specific publics voluntarily read,
    listen to
  • or watch for news, even seek it out
  • Columns, op-eds, paid spots increase access,
  • As opinion leaders, media can change
  • Independent tool for public education,
    awareness-raising, policy dialogue

Dis-advantages of using the Media
  • Are there any disadvantages?
  • Risks inaccuracy, negative portrayal, incomplete
  • Cant control whats reported, how story is
  • Never sure what share of priority audiences got
  • Research to find out is time-consuming
    and costly
  • Access to mainstream media is limited for some
  • Limited real-time dialogue, only indirect
  • Not as effective for reaching internal
  • Exceptions?

Axioms of good media relations
  • Reach out to reporters editors dont wait for
    the phone to ring suggest stories, make key
    sources available
  • Provide service to journalists help identify
    sources, provide background details
    copy-ready information
  • Educate journalists-- on the key issues,
    policies, processes, goals and successes over
    and over again. Unfamiliarity contributes most to
    negative, inaccurate stories
  • Be available, be responsive- always be
    reachable fulfil requests on time.

Axioms of good media relations
  • Be creative - help journalists find new angles to
  • Tell the truth !! - if there are changes,
    delays, problems dont be afraid to say so. Lying
    or waffling is a clear sign of trying to mislead
    people. Honesty, candor builds credibility.
  • Arrange regular briefings keep to schedule.
    Prevents tension and anxiety from building up
    among journalists feeling of being closed out
    monthly briefings mean journalists know they will
    have a chance to ask questions shows respect

Effective media relations Virtuous Circle
Nigerias Media Marketplace where ideas compete
  • Role not just to report events, but present the
    competition for ideas bridge communication gaps,
    create a public space for haggling
  • Serve as watchdogs-- hold Government to its
    duty promises to serve the best interests of
    Nigerian citizens business

Getting Out the News
  • What a media relations plan will and will NOT do
  • Develop an effective Media Relations strategy
  • What does the media do?
  • Understanding the news media
  • What to know about news gathering
  • Free publicity

What a Media Relations Plan will and will not do
  • Developing a media relations plan CAN
  • Enhance the publics knowledge and understanding
    of your policy, program or issue.
  • Build credibility in your program
  • Extend the reach and increase the frequency of
    your message
  • Developing a media relations plan CANT
  • Eliminate the competition.
  • Control the media or the medias message
  • Eliminate negatives

Media Strategy
  • Database your media contacts
  • Create a core message
  • problem, action, solution
  • Identify audiences
  • Timing
  • Delivery
  • Resources

Implementing a Media Strategy
  • Database of media contacts
  • continually update
  • What is the result we want to achieve?
  • What media do our target groups consume?
  • TV, radio, press?
  • What media can we/the Ministry access?
  • existing programmes, columns
  • launch new ones
  • Create core messages
  • problem, action, solution.
  • Timing
  • Who is responsible to deliver?
  • Resources needed vs. available

Proven Media Tools for Government Communicators
  • Media Advisories / Media Alerts
  • Press Releases/News Releases
  • Fact Sheets
  • Press Conferences
  • Radio and TV shows
  • Public Service Announcement (PSAs)
  • Print and Broadcast Editorials
  • Opinion-Editorials (Op-Eds)
  • Broadcast Editorials
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Editorial Board
  • Media Contacts
  • Long Lead Publications

Critical Success Factors
  • Comms costs often vastly underestimated
  • comms too often considered media and website
  • Best media programmes are often self-conceived
  • Non-media communicatoins cost a lot
  • Few stakeholders have access to Internet, e-mail,
    newspapers, TV
  • Multiple languages, distances mean higher costs
  • Integrate comms into all workplans START EARLY
  • Integrate internal external comms
  • Capacity-bldg appoint, train comms focal points
  • Twinning, on-going support is best in initial
  • MDAs, and leadership is top comms priority

News Management Tips
  • Monitor media coverage daily-- weekends too
  • know how your MDA-issues are treated,
  • know what is interesting to journalists, media
  • identify mischaracterisations
  • Know the reporter covering your MDAs beat
  • Use specialised media to announce sector
  • Academic/technical publications to enhance MDAs
    reputation, authority
  • National media to announce key news vs. regional
    media for community interest news
  • Find angles in mainstream or business news
    relevant to your MDAs issues, advocacy positions
  • Hook journalists by floating the story without
    giving details away

Maximizing Media Coverage
  • Answer the deciding question So what?
  • Write compelling copy/lead, provide context, --
    help them convince their editors your story is
  • Deliver material, speakers in time to meet
  • Provide on-issue quotes, links to documents,
    other background details and substantiated facts
  • Prepare send/post timely, accurate
    transcripts-- video print-- of speeches, public
    statements, speeches, etc.
  • Give them tips on news, even unrelated to your
  • Reward good coverage, corrections arrange

What do the media do?
  • The media pass information to target audiences.
    They act as filters.
  • They decide whats important and what is actually
  • Media are in business for profit.
    They stay in
    business by selling newspapers and advertisements
    space. Advert sales are generated by filling
    newspapers and newscasts with information their
    audiences want.
  • And where do they get this "good content"?
  • Some of it comes from people like you who have
    developed an effective media relations strategy.

Dealing with Journalists
  • Who are journalists?
  • Watchdogs, opinion leaders, agenda setters for
    public debate, gate-keepers to a key public
  • their interests are different so approaches must
    be different too
  • Cynical and sceptical... and underappreciated
  • How to deal with journalists?
  • Create an atmosphere of respect, openness, trust
  • Treat journalists as customers not threats
  • Compliment them from time to time
  • Above all...

make journalists jobs EASY !!
Understanding the news media
  • Become a reputable, reliable expert source
  • Criteria many news directors use to determine
  • Is the information significant? (So what?
  • How many readers/viewers could benefit from it?
  • Is the story timely?
  • Is it local or does it have local impact?
  • Is the information accurate?
  • Is the information new or different?
  • Can we report it in time?

Think like a reporter
  • Scheduling Other events are happening make
    YOURS count!
  • Know the reporters deadlines
  • MDA reporters are generalists, not specialists
  • Avoid calling news conferences News conferences
    should be held only when new and important
    information needs to get to many media outlets at
    the same time.
  • Is the event you want covered by a reporter
    really "news?"
  • Reporters are good observers
  • Media like to personalize a story. Submit story
    ideas that emphasize people.
  • Always provide correct facts
  • Follow trends
  • Accommodate the media as much as possible
  • Use terms that are easy to understand

Countering the Brown Envelope Syndrome
  • Money is NOT always the best answer
  • How can we counter it still engage media?
  • Countering Ministry impressions
  • Well-researched, news-ready information
  • Research media houses journalists
  • Establish relationships with beat reporters
  • Take journalists on a field visit, study tour
  • Strategic Communications planning,
    implementation and follow-up
  • Hot issues
  • Paid advocacy and budgets
  • Use media houses where your MDA advertises

Writing Press Releases
  • Tip Sheets
  • News stories, releases
  • Elements of a good story
  • Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
  • Scriptwriting and Storyboarding
  • Checklist

How do you plan a media event?
  • Make the commitment
  • Plan the actual event
  • Timing
  • News Value
  • Speakers
  • Location
  • Dissemination
  • Pitching
  • Holding the event
  • Post-event activities

Follow Up
  • Communicate successes to stakeholders and to the
  • Follow-up on the internal implementation of
    policies in the public sector
  • Follow-up with politicians if they have promised
    to change policy
  • Follow-up with administration if new policies are
    not being implemented
  • Evaluate media reports and policy implementation

Media Relations
  • Break-Out Group Exercise

Coffee Break
Interview Skills
Media Interview Skills
  • A newspaper reporter just called to schedule a
    mid-afternoon interview for a story that will
    run tomorrow.
  • What do you do?

Preparation Confidence, Control Credibility
  • Define your agenda.
  • Clarify your communication objective(s).
  • Determine how the interview allows you to make
    positive points or provide helpful information
    about your policy, issue and/or your MDA.
  • Write down and practice key messages, points in
    brief statements or bullet points.
  • Avoid jargon or long explanations.
  • Review facts and figures so you are comfortable
    discussing them.
  • Anticipate questions (easy, hard and terrible)
    and your responses.
  • Practice with a colleague or in front of the
  • Know the media outlet.

Interview Techniques
  • Simplicity
  • Answering questions
  • Pause after complete statements.
  • When you answer a question adequately, sit
    silently and wait for the next question.
  • Think before you speak.
  • Respond to negative questions with positive
  • Credibility is crucial. Know the facts to make
    your points
  • Avoid "off the record."
  • Never say "no comment .

More Speaking ToolsTechniques and Tips
  • Bridging
  • Blocking
  • A Q 1
  • Flagging or Headlining
  • Enumerating Points
  • Pauses/Quiet/Knowing When to Stop!
  • Avoid Getting Trapped

Interview Tips
  • After preparation, appearance is everything
  • Clothing professional and conservative
    minimal jewelry, hats back from the eyes
  • Enthusiasm Be animated. Smile. Say it in 30
    seconds or less
  • Other warnings No gum, no black and white
    patterns, no light sensitive glasses
  • Nerves of Steel
  • Be attitudes
  • Be prepared, confident, relaxed, brief, honest,
    focused, in charge

Body Language
  • Eye Contact
  • Look at the reporter, not the camera.
  • If you are being interviewed in the field and the
    reporter is somewhere else, then do Look at the
  • Avoid distractions in your environment.
  • Posture
  • Sit up straight, but not stiff. Try to look
    relaxed and confident.
  • Dont fidget or use too many hand gestures.
  • Be careful of nodding. Women tend to nod more,
    and it can be misinterpreted as agreement.
  • Wrapping it Up
  • Leave time for questions.
  • Recap commitments.
  • Leave behind press materials.

On Location
  • Allow plenty of time for the unexpected
  • Arrive 5-10 minutes early. Expect to wait!
  • If the interview is at your office
  • Be prepared early
  • Have all calls and interruptions held.
  • Tidy up. Put away piles of papers and clutter.
  • Try not to be interviewed behind your desk as it
    creates a barrier between you and the reporter.
  • Pre-interviews
  • Find out what the reporter is looking for and set
    the tone for the interview.
  • Do ask when a story will run
  • DONT ask to pre-approve it

Interview Traps
  • The games interviewers play
  • Machine Gunner
  • Interrupter
  • Paraphraser
  • Unprepared Interviewer
  • The long silence
  • Negative questions
  • The end of interview GOTCHA
  • Post Interview questions
  • Off the record
  • Strategies for handling question traps

Other Tips
  • Print Tips
  • Some print reporters record their interviews. Be
    prepared to have your exact phrase transcribed.
    At the same time, be prepared to have it
    incorrectly transcribed!
  • Television Tips
  • Raise your voice slightly for key points and
  • Ask the reporter what they like to be called and
    call them by that name. First name basis can be
  • Dress appropriately, conservatively. Avoid shiny
    or dangly jewelry.
  • Radio Tips
  • Remember the audience cant see your gestures.
  • Use your voice to create variety and interest --
    no monotones. Feel free to have notes of key
    points, facts.
  • Use examples and stories to "illustrate" your
  • Call-Ins don't let angry or hostile callers
    fluster you.
  • Avoid ums and ahs

Other Tips (contd)
  • Phone Tips
  • When called without prior notice, find out if the
    reporter faces a deadline. If not, ask if you can
    call them back.
  • Set an acceptable time to allow yourself to
    prepare. Even 5 minutes can help improve your
    delivery and poise.
  • Try and call from a quiet place or in a room
    where you can close the door. Outside noises can
    disturb the interview and are especially
    problematic when the interview is being recorded.
  • Ask if the call is being recorded before starting
    the interview
  • Use your notes -- no one is watching!!
  • Ask the reporter for feedback to ensure they
    understand you.

Interview Skills
  • Break-Out Group Exercise

Q A, Wrap-up Next Steps
Participant Evaluations
Thank you