The goal of Media Relations is to establish proactive, positive media relations to minimize negative press coverage of sensitive issues and build community support for school policies and initiatives.
When thinking of Media Relations, open honest communication is important. Likewise, it is important to be perceptive and proactive. The superintendent must be first to tell the story. When addressing the story it is critical to address the challenges, as well as the successes. It is critical that the superintendent is prepared.
▪ If a camera is present, assume it is on.
▪ Expect the media to request interviews and be allowed to visit campuses. ▪ Expect the media to want to know details, and what the district or school is doing (or planning to do) about them (challenges and successes). ▪ Don’t go into a communications bunker and refuse to acknowledge the media or talk to them about the legislation, low-ranking schools and conditions or problems. ▪ When you do not want to be interviewed use the following statement: “Thank you so much for the opportunity, but we decline at this time.” ▪ Be proactive and forthright — and earn appreciation from the media and by extension the public — by inviting reporters for interviews or visits before they ask. ▪ Realize that decisions have to be made as to when to go public with some stories. ▪ “Off the record” does not need to be used.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals offers the following tips: ▪ Create a list with the names and numbers of key media contacts in your community. Remember to include "behind the scenes" people such as assignment editors (TV and radio), producers (TV and radio), people at the city desk (newspapers), as well as reporters. Get to know the people on this list and become familiar with their specific duties and what information would be useful to them. Keep their phone numbers, fax numbers, and...