Holding a Press Conference


HOLDING A PRESS CONFERENCE

Used sparingly and for the right reasons, such as the opening of a new treatment plant or throwing the switch that will bring water from your new 50-million gallon reservoir for the first time, press conferences can be very effective.


TIMING IS EVERYTHING

To the extent possible, give the media as much advance notice as possible - at least a week is preferable. It is generally a good idea to send a media advisory at least a week a head of time, with a follow-up reminder the day before.

The optimal days for a news conference are Tuesday through Thursday. It can be hard to capture media interest on Mondays when people are trying to catch up from the weekend. Scheduling a news conference on Friday and there's a good chance your message will get lost over the weekend.

The optimal time for a news conference is 10 a.m. This gives you the best chance for the most coverage - the afternoon and evening news on television and radio, as well as the afternoon dailies.


EDITORS LOVE PHOTO OPS
When announcing the news conference, be sure to let editors know that there are picture opportunities and what they are. Be sure to have your own photographer and/or videographer there. This allows you to send photos/video to those media outlets unable to attend your event.
THINK AHEAD AND BE PREPARED
  • Brief your spokesperson on what is to be said and how to say it. REHEARSE, REHEARSE, REHEARSE.
  • Prepare your spokesperson for the different questions that may be asked, especially difficult or "trapping" questions.
  • Ensure that any visuals are shown in their best light, can be seen from anywhere in the audience, show up well on film, etc.

PRESS KITS

Prepare press kits to give to each attendee. It is also a good idea to send press kits to those reporters who are unable to attend.

Press kit components:       

  • News release (to be issued the day of the news conference)   
  • Background information on the subject of the news conference         
  • Brief bios for the main people involved         
  • Fact sheets, photos, research summaries, or other items as appropriate
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