WHAT JOURNALISTS NEED
Magazines/programmes are inundated with material. They cannot hope to use it all.
The best way to get your story used is to become familiar with your target publication or programme. What kind of stories do they like? What length? What is their style – formal, chatty?
Journalists work under pressure, so be brisk and to the point.
When possible, give back-up information in written form in an email.
Yesterday’s news is dead news. For printed publications, know their deadlines. Do not try to peddle something old. It is better to wait for the next event and plan more efficiently in future.
Journalists only want to attend events that will provide a story. Don’t waste their time!
Press conferences are seldom necessary.
Personalities make news, especially if they say something quotable.
There is often a local angle on a national event – look out for something you can exploit.
TALKING TO A JOURNALIST
General reporters are not employed to know the facts, but to know how to find out. Don’t expect them to know all about you (or libraries). Use everyday language, not jargon. Think about what might need explaining.
A good journalist accepts nothing at face value – so be prepared to be cross-examined. There is no reason why any journalist should be on your side. But you can expect them to be reasonably objective.
RADIO & TV
If you are going to be interviewed on radio or TV, or are trying to take part in a phone-in, go over in your mind WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY.
Get this into your answers, NO MATTER WHAT THE QUESTIONS ARE.
Don’t be led into wandering off the point.
Try to anticipate what kind of questions you might be asked, or criticisms that might be made. Journalists quite like catching people out.
If you’re on TV, smile at least sometimes. Don’t be too earnest, unless the topic is really grave.