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Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP) [Presenter] [Date]

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Presentation on theme: "Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP) [Presenter] [Date]"— Presentation transcript:

1 Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP) [Presenter] [Date]

2 Overview  Earned media overview  Telling stories  Messages  Crafting them  Getting them across  Staying on them  What is news  The newsroom  Working with reporters effectively  Building a press list  Tools  Press releases, pitch letters, radio fees, etc.  Opinion pieces  Working with broadcast media  What to do if a reporter calls you  Dealing with unfavorable coverage

3 What is Earned Media and Why Use It?  Earned media = Media that doesn’t cost you money, but have to earn (not free)  News articles, TV interviews, etc.  Contrast with paid media and owned media  Earned media can help you:  Educate the public  Sway elected officials  Recruit new members  Win your campaigns!

4 The Importance of Telling Stories  People love stories  Natural way we process information  More likely to notice, remember, share information if it is presented as a story  To tell a story, use the elements of narrative  Protagonist, antagonist, conflict, resolution  Emotional impact is key  Emotion tells us what’s important in the world  How to get emotional impact  Help audience identify with “protagonist” (e.g. through personal stories)  Appeal to moral values

5 Big-Picture Stories & Messages  Big-picture story  Broad, all-encompassing story about your effort & why it’s important  Message  What you’re communicating in a particular interview, etc.  Part of your big-picture story

6 Getting Your Message Across  Develop concise messages  Average quote is 30 words, TV clip is 10 seconds  Use the 27/9/3 formula (“sound bites”)  Repeat, repeat, repeat!  Keep your message consistent  Select spokespeople  Coordinate between them  Discuss big-picture story  Develop talking pts & answers to likely questions  Train people how to stay on message during an interview

7 Staying on Message During an Interview  Don’t allow the reporter to lead you off topic  Say “I’d be happy to talk about that, but first I’d like to explain how…”  You don’t need to wait for a question to be asked to answer it  Never repeat a negative  Reinforces it in audience’s mind  Instead, neutralize it with a positive statement

8 Staying on Message During an Interview  You don’t have to answer every question!  Instead, respond using a pivot  Pivot = Pivot phrase + talking point  Example pivot phrases  “The thing is…”  “What’s important is…”  “What it sounds like you’re really getting at is…”  “That’s an interesting question, but first I’d like to address…”

9 Staying on Message During an Interview  Pivot examples:  Reporter: “Do you really think the MN Congressional delegation will take this seriously?”  You: “What it sounds like you’re really getting at is whether military spending is a problem in our country. I think we can all agree that Minnesota cannot afford to spend $8.6 billion dollars funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when we have a $5 billion budget shortfall here in MN.”  Reporter: “What are the chances your group will be successful?”  You: “The reality is that Minnesotans are coming together with a unified voice on military spending. We want to bring our tax dollars home for local control.”

10 What is News?  Just because it interests you doesn’t mean it’s news  News value (“newsworthiness”) 1. Conflict 2. Novelty 3. Timeliness 4. Proximity 5. Prominence 6. Impact 7. Human interest  Rank your story in each category, try to increase its rankings

11 What is News?  Angle  How the story is told, what is emphasized  Focus on news value categories with highest rankings  Peg  Current news item to which you tie your story  Makes your story timely  Hook  Grabs the audience’s attention  Encapsulates the story  Like a jingle in a commercial

12 How are News Stories Created?  Assignment  Top-down method  Assignment editor => reporter  Enterprise  Bottom-up method  Beat reporter => editor  Generally the better stories, & more copy

13 What Reporters Want  They want good stories presented in a way that makes their jobs easier  Give them that, and you both win  Compete hard for space in paper  Increasingly harried due to downsizing  They want a resource  Not your enemy  But also not your friend

14 Building Relationships with Reporters  Beat reporters at newspapers most important  Also consider bloggers, editors, etc.  Identify key individuals, do background research  Ask to meet at her office or over coffee  At the meeting  Explain issue & give her background materials  Offer yourself as a resource  Build the relationship  Deliver consistent quality  Don’t waste her time  Offer exclusives, & suggest other stories on her beat

15 Building Your Press List  Press list = List of media contacts likely to be interested in your stories  Detailed information & a record of past contacts/stories  Be selective  Sending materials to those unlikely to be interested is spamming  Build your list using internet & phone calls  Can use another organization’s list as starting point - but check over everything  Keep the list updated

16 Press Releases & Advisories  Press release  Alerts a reporter to a story  Enough to write an article, but also gives contact info  Written like a news article  Headline, inverted pyramid style, quotes  Press advisory  Alerts a reporter to an event  Answers who, what, where, when, why  Formatting & sending  See guide for advice  Important: Follow with a pitch call!

17 The Pitch Call  Purpose: Get a reporter’s attention & convince her to cover your story or event  When you call  Introduce yourself & your organization  If you know the reporter, connect briefly on a personal note  Ask if she has a moment to talk  Give a brief summary of story or event  Ask if she got your release or advisory  Be prepared to do an interview on the spot  If get answering machine, call back later

18 Radio Feeds & Actualities  Audio versions of the press release  Used by radio stations in newscasts  Lead-in, clip, closing, contact info  Feed vs. actuality  Feed = Clip prerecorded  Actuality = Clip recorded at a live event  Make pitch call before sending  Not all stations accept these

19 Pitch Letters  Used to convince news outlet to interview someone or book them as a guest  Format flexible, but keep it short  Follow up with a pitch call

20 Press Conferences  Staged event where one or more speakers present a story to reporters  Opportunity for reporters to ask questions & take photos  Difficult for small organizations to use effectively

21 Opinion Pieces in Newspapers  Letter to the editor  Short letter responding to a current topic  Anyone can submit  Many people submitting increases chances  Can have a few writers & larger number of senders  Op-ed  Longer opinion piece  Most often signed by an expert or public figure  Editorial  Statement by a paper’s editorial board  Meet with editorial board to make your case

22 Radio Interviews  Prepare!  Learn talking points, practice answers to likely questions  Bring documents along to the interview  Studio vs. telephone  During the interview  Treat mic like ear of someone close to you (don’t shout)  Speak slowly & clearly  Repeat your main messages often  Smile!  If talk radio, line up people to call in  Listen to your interview afterwards & learn from it

23 Television Interviews  Prepare!  Like radio - but television short-form medium, & visual  Pay special attention to:  Sound bites  Clothing & appearance  During the interview  Ask that the camera be brought to your eye level  Be still (everything looks bigger on camera)  Smile!  Watch your interview afterwards & learn from it

24 Radio Call-Ins  Familiarize yourself with the show  Make the call  Be prepared to wait  Have your points ready & in front of you  Tell screener why you’re calling in one short sentence  Greet host by name, then immediately make your point  Remain calm  Can assemble a team of callers for maximum impact

25 Public Service Announcements  Short noncommercial messages on TV and radio  Used to meet the FCC’s requirement that stations serve “in the public interest”  Can use to send a message or announce an event  Free airtime, but stiff competition  Usually delivered as ready-to-use files, though some stations prefer a script  Requirements vary by station  Call & ask for individual responsible for PSAs  Try to set up a meeting

26 If a Reporter Calls You  Most likely to happen in the afternoon or early evening  But not always!  When get the call, pick up  Ask what the story is about  If you are willing to talk, say you’re in the middle of something & will call back in 5-10 minutes  Compose your thoughts, & then call back  If get a voic , return the call promptly  Remember the reporter is probably working under deadline

27 Dealing with Unfavorable Media Coverage  This will happen sooner or later. Don’t panic, and don’t become defensive!  If a mistake  If small, ignore  If moderate, alert the reporter so she doesn’t repeat it  If severe, ask for a formal correction  If reporter refuses, consider going to her editor  If critical or hostile coverage  Consider carefully whether to respond  If choose to respond  Return to the issue and stress why it is what’s important  Remain calm & always behave like an adult

28 Questions?

29 Acknowledgements  This presentation was donated to MN ASAP by Kaja Rebane of She gave an excellent media training at the 2011 Democracy Convention in Madison, WI. She was gracious in sharing her expertise with us.www.movetoamend.org


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