Presentation on theme: "Buckeye Community Hope Foundation All Schools Meeting Sept. 19, 2014 Presented by: Catherine West."— Presentation transcript:
Buckeye Community Hope Foundation All Schools Meeting Sept. 19, 2014 Presented by: Catherine West
Different expectations for educators/SME than for public/media relations professionals Reporters have a job to do – respect that, and treat them with basic courtesy Reporters are not your friends – nor are they your enemies Media relations 101
Southern Ohio Correctional Facility: Lucasville Prison riot (Easter morning 1993) Response coordinated by DRC, National Guard, State Highway Patrol, FBI & local law enforcement – first responders focused on managing the crisis Failure to understand responsibility to provide regular updates to the public through media (and the related consequences) CASE STUDY
The “news hole”
Sources of information: media prefer knowledgeable, credible sources, but will “fill the hole” with others (former inmates, inmates’ family members & friends, security experts with no connection to the event, etc.) if necessary Disservice to the public: reports of dozens of murder victims (rather than the 1 corrections officer and 9 inmates who died) Lucasville case study
If you want your story to be told through rumor, speculation & gossip, let others tell it! My best advice:
Akron Beacon Journal & a “student-journalism lab” Phones calls made to each of Ohio’s 400 charter schools Request for basic public information Schools’ responses reflected fundamental mistrust of media and lack of understanding of public records laws RECENT EVENTS
Proactive vs. reactive: both are important! Public/media relations: a mix of art & science Remember: reporters carry your story to the public! Media relations: the basics
Develop/maintain well thought-out media policy/protocol Be specific about who is (and who is not) authorized to talk with media Multiple spokespeople representing different perspectives is ideal (think about who is most knowledgeable and best informed, who has the most credibility and who is reliably available) Have a plan in place
Provide talking points or a script for use by team members who might field a media call but are not authorized to serve as spokespersons Make sure everyone (including board members, staff and – in some cases – parents) are aware of the school’s media policy/protocols Make sure they are aware of any media inquiries and how those inquiries were handled Support your team!
There are reasons public/media relations professionals use them: They help ensure consistent messaging They provide security in stressful situations They help ensure you cover all the key points that the media and public should know They help move the conversation in the direction you want it to go TALKING POINTS!
Ignore media calls – return them promptly Lie or guess – if you aren’t certain, assure the reporter you’ll gather the requested info and follow up with them promptly Forget your stakeholders – keep them in the loop! Lose your cool! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER …
Try to put yourself in the reporter’s shoes: Be available (reporters don’t quit working at the end of the school day) Be sensitive to the needs of various types of media (radio, TV & print) Don’t limit your engagement with media to responding to negatives – proactively pitch positive stories PERSPECTIVE
Consider professional training (for selected members of staff and the board – perhaps even selected parents) Practice! The more you do, the lower your risk and higher your performance Practice makes perfect!
Seek assistance – your sponsor can help! Keep your stakeholders – including your sponsor – in the loop! If you develop or modify talking points in response to a crisis or negative story, use them as the basis for communicating with staff, board members, parents and other supporters Closing thoughts
Our school leader [NAME] and board chair [NAME] serve as primary spokespersons for the ABC Charter School. I would be happy to help you connect with one of them. We are committed to transparency and open communication, and I can assure you that your request will be handled promptly. In an effort to ensure we fully understand your request for information, I ask that you outline it briefly in an to me – at [provide your address] -- and I will personally see that it is given to our school leader or board chair for timely follow up. Are you on deadline? If so, when do you need the requested information? Thank you for contacting the ABC Charter School. We’ll be back in touch with you soon. SAMPLE SCRIPT