Presentation on theme: "PR Dos and Donts: The School Board's Public & Media Relations Role Denise L. Berkhalter, Director of Public Relations Alabama Association of School Boards."— Presentation transcript:
PR Dos and Donts: The School Board's Public & Media Relations Role Denise L. Berkhalter, Director of Public Relations Alabama Association of School Boards Perdido Resort, Orange Beach, AL July 26, 2009 The Alabama Association of School Boards Dealing with the Public & Media Denise L. Berkhalter Director of Public Relations Roles & Responsibilities, Course Co-sponsored by …
The Game Plan: What is Public Relations? Your PR Role Handling Media Inquiries Strategic PR Toolbox (Dos & Donts)
Public Relations is about getting the message out AND… establishing and promoting partnerships within the community.
Attitude is Everything Public relations is building relationships that change attitudes and bring about desired behaviors. Patrick Jackson, a former New England PR counselor
Negative Headlines Hurt!
Lets Review! School PR is … Ongoing 2-way Communication Building & Promoting Community Partnerships Being a Good Neighbor; Serving with Integrity
Be Ready! Know the Plays BOARD MEMBERS As public information policymaker –Know it –Follow it –Review/Update it
Be a Team Player BOARD MEMBERS Community liaison –Be strong –Be fair –Follow proper channels
Keep Your Eye on the Ball BOARD MEMBERS Develop an atmosphere of mutual respect and support –Cardinal Rule: No surprises!
Let the Boards Will Be Done BOARD MEMBERS Supporting board action - Win or lose
What Your PR Role is NOT SUPERINTENDENT Is the official spokesperson and expert for the school system; handles day-to-day operations
Lets Review! Your Role is … Know, follow, review & update policy Be familiar with the law Be fair, strong and a team player Know who the spokespersons are
When a Reporter Corners You Know whom you are talking to Know what you are talking about Know how to talk to a reporter Know when you should talk to a reporter
TV Wants the Visual Scoop Be aware of visual / audio background Limited Time 15- to 20- second sound bites Stick to the point & state the facts Very little detail
Print Wants the Inside Scoop Respect deadlines Answer simple questions State the facts Provide info quickly No off the record Be direct & clear
Radio Wants the Sound bite Sound bites Short answers Colorful quotes Facts, few details Background noise Varying views Be direct & clear
Social Media Want the Unique Want unique, interesting and informative news Sound bites or long interviews Facts Sometimes video and audio Be clear in call to action or message
Dont Discount Social Media Newsroom employment at newspapers plunged 11.3% in 2008, the biggest drop recorded since ASNE first started conducting its newsroom employment survey in However, there was a 21% rise year-over-year in online-only journalists to 2, American Society of News Editors
How Our Time is Spent … Average Newspaper reader spends 12.4 hours/month reading a Newspaper Average Internet user spends 56 minutes/month on News Web sites Average American watches 153 hours/month of TV at home 131 million Americans watch video on the Internet, averaging 3 hours of video online/month at home and work 13.4 million Americans watch video on mobile phones, averaging 3 ½ hours of mobile video each month
Where is your audience? (Unique visitors or users per month, 2009) Broadcast radio listeners (Weekly, 2008)235 million Facebook144 million MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, ABCNEWS, CBS News web sites117 million YouTube (Google)100 million U.S. newspaper web sites73 million MySpace70 million Twitter18 million Paid Newspaper Circulation (Weekday print, 2009)34 million ABC, CBS & NBC TV Network News Audience (Nightly, 2008)23 million Local TV Evening News Audience (November 2008)9 million U.S. News, Newsweek & Time magazines (Weekly subscribers 2008) 8 million Median Prime Time Cable News TV Audience (Prime Time, 2009)4 million Nielsen Net-Ratings, Journalism.org, other sources
4 Questions Reporters Ask Why do I care about this story? Why should my readers/viewers care about this story? What is the key source I must have to make this a story? If I cant get the key sources, what is my fallback position?
Easy & Timely Source of Info Wheres Wallace? The Lansing school board sought to end T.C. Wallaces term as superintendent at a closed- door meeting Monday night but was unable to get Wallace to attend, according to well- placed sources. That is exactly what happened, one of the sources, who is a school board member, told City Pulse. Asked if it was true, schools spokesman Steve Serkaian said it was not. Lansing City Pulse
Managing Media Relationships Not a friendship Dont play favorites Be responsive Be timely (know their deadlines) Do not pressure an editor to use or to withhold a story Do not appear evasive Do not overreact to bad press
Managing Media Relationships Prepare by asking about and anticipating their questions/topics Anticipate contrary points of view Expect interruptions Beware of blind sources (dont use them and dont believe them) Know your limits Beware of hypothetical questions (what if..) Avoid third-party discussions (critics said..)
Managing Media Relationships Never restate the question Dont repeat negatives Reply positively to negative questions Ask for clarification Refute untruths immediately (with conviction but not anger) Tell the truth (dont tell everything) Be accurate, have the facts Be brief and to the point
Managing Media Relationships Beware of yes/no questions – rather state the key point Practice your answers (in a mirror or with a friend) Dont speak over your audiences heads (keep it simple, clear and no jargon) Keep your eyes on the reporter Control your temper
Managing Media Relationships Dress professionally (no patterns, no shiny hair products, no noisy or flashy jewelry, blue is safe) Relaxed & energized (relaxation exercises) Watch your body language –No phony smiles –No nervous laughter –No deer-in-the-headlights expressions –Dont fidget (keep your hands and feet still, dont rock back and forth, control ticks)
Managing Media Relationships Do not express your personal opinion – stick to the facts Dont bury your points in statistics Dont play games, such as signaling to reporters to keep digging or that theyve hit pay dirt. Thats dangerous and irresponsible. Do not use humor or sarcasm – it will not come across well Avoid using always and never
Managing Media Relationships Pause when preparing to make your point – dont rush to fill void, silence is golden (just remember the venue & respect time limits) Dont accept their words (Wouldnt you say that … or dont you believe that…) – rather state your point, message or the facts Call ahead to be sure youre on schedule Relay your Positive Points, but dont just talk about the fluff stuff Think of the reporters perspective
Managing Media Relationships No such thing as off the record Use bridging Dont say no comment – say that you dont know or direct the reporter to a better source
What is Bridging Bridging is getting your key messages across clearly and repeatedly no matter what questions a journalist asks.
What is Bridging Simplify your key messages (3 or less) into powerful, concise sound bites and memorize them.
What is Bridging Start by answering or at least acknowledging the reporters question. (Thats a good question … Im glad you asked … Whats important here is …)
What is Bridging Let your Single Overriding Communication Objective guide you. Educate or inform Our research shows … You also might want to know … Let me put that in perspective … The real issue is …
What is Bridging Inspire or move to action A vote today would … Theres something equally important to consider … Address fears or doubts As police continue their investigation, our priority is … As a result of their hard work, … or courageous effort, we can now look forward to …
Avoid No Comment If you say no comment, the impression is you are stonewalling, arent concerned or have something to hide. Try … This is a very complex issue, but what I can tell you is …(state the facts or key points). I just learned of this (issue) and dont have all the facts, so it would be premature for me to discuss it now. Let me find out more and get back to you. (Keep your word.)
Lets Review! Your Role is … Who, what, how and when Why should anyone care Easy and reliable source Keep staff, parents and students informed Dont be an unnamed source No such thing as off the record Avoid no comment
CONNECT WITH AASB alaschoolboards on Facebook & Twitter or visit Denise L. Berkhalter