Media Relations: Dos & Dont's

Media Relations: Dos & Dont's

By: Katya Kirsch
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One of the most exciting aspects of my co-op position as B.C. Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA) summer ambassador is the interaction with the media. BCUOMA works with the Grey Vancouver public relations team to plan and execute a program which employs two summer ambassadors promoting the importance of used oil recycling to B.C. residents by spreading the message that one drop of oil makes a difference. To connect with the public, we attend events, blog, tweet and try to get as much media coverage as we can across the province. Last year, the ambassadors achieved 41 media hits, which equates to 1,200,000 media impressions! Of course we’re trying to top that this year.

“I am so lucky to get this media I have the confidence to take on anything that comes my way!”

Grey provides media relations support through sending out a detailed press release, pitching the story and arranging interviews. The interviews take place over the phone, at an oil collection site or at the reporter’s office. On busy media days we’ve have had up to four interviews in one day! Typically the questions asked by the reporters are very similar including details about the program, how our journey has been so far and our accomplishments. We have had print, radio and television interviews so far this summer.

Although I have now become very comfortable responding to the media, I was initially nervous about this aspect of the position. Luckily, Grey provided media training for us beforehand, which included in-depth practice interviews. We not only learned about interview preparation, tips and techniques but also about the role of the reporter and different media types. Nonetheless, when it came down to completing our first interview, I was nervous. I remember the first interview vividly; it was for radio and was recorded over the phone. Although I was not very eloquent, I did manage to get the main messages across. I quickly realized that I did not need to be intimidated by media interviews; the fact is reporters are simply trying to get information to write their story. The more I spoke about BCUOMA, the more comfortable I became with the information I have to share. The one time a bit of that first nervousness returned was when I participated in my first TV interview. Luckily, the reporter was very friendly and was happy to let us redo our answers if we were not happy with our responses. I thought I would hate to see myself on camera, but when I got to see the final clip of my interview, I was actually happy with the result.

I am so lucky to get this media experience, as it is such valuable practice that is not easy to come by in most co-op or entry-level positions. Furthermore, the fact that all the publicity associated with this program this summer has been positive has been great for my introduction to media relations. Before this experience, dealing with the media surrounding a crisis or dealing with negative publicity would have been challenging but now I have the confidence to take on anything that comes my way!

Photo credit Michael Melchiorre via Flickr

Posted on September 05, 2010