6 Rules for Handling the Media

Projects with potential media exposure—TV, newspapers, etc.—require a bit of special care. Use these guidelines to keep your publicity positive and your media relations friendly.

1 – Designate a single point of contact. It’s hard to control what comes out of people’s mouths, so appoint just one person as the authorized media contact and strictly admonish the rest of your team that they aren’t allowed to speak with any media representatives. Be sure your designated contact has the experience and savvy needed to successfully work with the media.

2 – Release the right information…and nothing else. Journalists and reporters can ask any questions they want—it’s up to you to respond in your project’s and your organization’s best interests. If you aren’t sure what information should be released, check with your executive team for final approval.

3 – Avoid informal conversations. Remind team members that sensitive discussions should only take place in secure areas. Lunchtime gab fests in a public restaurant could spell disaster if a reporter is dining incognito at the next table.

4 – Focus on safety. Good job site practices require the right safety tools and equipment, but compliance is sometimes lax. Don’t let a team member be caught on camera without the protective gear they need, and be sure your work location is tidy and meets all applicable regulations.

5 – Maintain appearances. If it’s likely that TV cameras will visit a job site or work location, advise your team to be particularly careful with their appearance and demeanor. Appropriate clothing and protective gear (if needed) are a must.

6 – Be prepared. It’s helpful to have a couple of media-safe photos, sketches, timelines, and team member bios handy. This keeps your team’s focus on the project with while still garnering the kind of publicity that will benefit your organization.

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