Category: Media Reputation

A Different view on Manyi’s ‘Media Tendencies’


The recent interview on the Radio 702 with John Robbie and Jimmy Many of the GCIS and his words that the media has ‘tendencies’ and the reported breakdown of relationships between the SA National Editors Forum and Manyi got me thinking.

Tendencies? View points? What drives a journalist? Let’s view it from another angle.

Why engage in Media Relations? And, what are some of the rules that need to be understood?

Media inquiries, whether crisis-related or routine, are an outstanding opportunity for companies to manage the most important asset they have — their corporate reputation. Getting stories out there and addressing views about your organisation is important.

However media relations need to be seen in a context. That context involves understanding the rules of the game and of engagement.

I always like start with the end purpose in mind (a-la Covey). What is the end purpose in Media Relations?

Is it not to convey messages to targeted audiences, for example – voters – messages, whose purpose is to advance your organisation’s goals, raise its profile, and uphold its reputation?

This means that journalists becomes a means to an end and are conduits or tools. This means that the focus of Media relations is about creating an on-going dialogue between a news outlet and your spokespeople in an effort to have you or your company discussed in a positive light, in public, through a publication or broadcast.

In order to this you need to focus on creating relationships with media people. But before you can create a relationship you need to understand the rules of the game.

You need to know the rules of the game, because if you do not you may be caught out by not understanding the law, customs, conventions and standard operating procedures relating to the media. It means that you need to know how they operate and approach their job.

That knowledge in turn will shape your attitude towards journalists and editors. For instance if you distrust and dislike journalists, it will generally show and affect your dealings with the media.

I think that the media in general sees themselves as a ‘watchdog’ against big business and institutions. For example many major institutions have systems for communicating information. The entire advertising industry exists for the sole purpose of communicating good news and propaganda about products, services, companies, organisations and even organisations. You never see a press advertisement or a TV commercial telling the public what is wrong with a product or what a company failed to do. Why?

In an environment where the public is bombarded with information from advertising, public relations sources, organisation information units, ‘spin doctors’ in industry and professional associations, lobbyists and so on, journalists and editors believe that they must provide a balance by consciously and aggressively searching for the bad news. They see themselves as devil advocates, standing guard for right and truth.

If you understand that you will understand how they view their jobs, and you can then find ways to make their job easy, build relationships with them and find ways to improve communication with them. (Communication is the sharing of meaning).

For example – by becoming a trusted resource you put money in the reputation bank for the future. Becoming a trusted resource is about being available and providing relevant information and keeping them in the loop, amongst many other things.

Too often I see people focusing on how wrong the media is, blah, blah.This is a dangerous position because you stop looking at what you can do to enhance the sharing of meaning.

Perhaps by focusing on the end purpose, there will be better clarity. In one organisation the management team was of the opinion that it was not their job to make it easy for the Media to report on them. Through work shopping and working with them I was able to get them to realise that the principles of negotiation also applies to media relations. That the focus should be on win-win, and not win-lose!

Once they had the knowledge and understanding it was easier to persuade them to see the use of the media as an opportunity and not a bind.

Obviously, there are many more dynamics and rules of engagement to consider, but perhaps it does start with the end purpose in mind.

Managing ‘Organized Media’ with Strategic Intent


2495004170_4797c10298_mIn today’s era of pervasive communications media, senior executives, public officials, consultants, politicians and leaders of all types of groups cannot avoid facing the media at one time or another.

Whether you operate at provincial or local government level, hold a position in a listed or  educational organisation, at some time a microphone or tape recorder will be thrust in front of you and you will be required to make a statement that will be read, heard or seen by thousands or even millions of people.

Using the media is also a wonderful opportunity to build your organisation’s reputation, and to add to your organisation’s messages and further the organisation’s marketing efforts.

However when you face the media, nothing you learned in your career training, on the job, or even in a fancy MBA program prepares you. Media interviews involve techniques of questioning and editing of responses that are not taught in university or management courses.

Journalists are trained in how to ask probing and often in – your-face type questions. They also are familiar with sophisticated editing facilities and techniques that can extract segments of what you say, or join statements together which can alter the context and even the entire meaning of your comments. They are taught investigative techniques, just like detectives.

Spokespersons for organisations and companies often naively face media interviews ill-equipped for the dynamic communication and publicity opportunity that media interviews provide. In most interviews, the journalist is holding all the cards. It need not be so. Some basic tips and training can equip you to get your points across in an interview and minimise misreporting and misquoting. If you talk to the media now, or are likely to do so in the future, you need to be prepared.

All your dealings with the media must be with strategic intent.

To achieve this, you need to understand that:

There is a distinct need for senior management and staff to receive media awareness training as opposed to practical spokesperson coaching. Let me explain. Companies traditionally appoint two to three spokespersons. The spokespeople (who are carefully chosen), need to receive hands on practical training in front of cameras, microphones and live audiences. This type of training is extremely expensive and time intensive and is normally conducted in a studio. Some trainers put spokespersons on the spot and then proceed to show them their weaknesses. This often breaks down people self-confidence levels and should be avoided (You cannot build on sand). Spokesperson training should be positive and uplifting and conducted in simulated environments.

However they also need “contextual” training – training that will add to their understanding but that will be added on in a studio later.

In my own capacity, I work with senior management & staff that needs media awareness understanding. I teach them a context so that they understand the media stakeholder, how they operate and how to conduct themselves in a media interview situation. This is normally different to those people who speak to the media on a continual basis. It is better to use local providers such as specialized media training coaches for that type of training. It is more cost-effective as long as it is built on a base of solid understanding.

Often senior management are the people who have to formulate the messages that spokespersons need to convey or decide on an approach in dealing with the media. They therefore need to understand the media stakeholder, so that these messages and chance interactions with the media will be positive and uplifting.

My favourite saying is that media relations need to be approached with strategic intent and if you do not know the rules of the game, how can you play it.

I believe that my recommended two-tier approach is the best for building sound media relations and reputation capacity in the organisation. To this end, I present a one-day workshop called Media Survival Skills. In this workshop, we cover media awareness, understanding and the seven tools for better media interviews and various powerful and useful tips and suggestions. The day involves pulling newspapers apart, theoretical inputs, skill practices and case study analysis.

Footnote – The title refers to working with ‘organized’ media. The reason is that we need to separate organized media from the fact that there are people who have the tools to be publishers and conveyors of information without understanding journalistic principles, so the so-called rising of the citizen reporter. Read my other blog post – The Tools exist to Do Damage

New Platform for Bloggers & Citizen Journalists adds to the Reputation Risk Mix


These days Reputation Managers no longer have to only contend with traditional media, they also have to deal with citizen journalists and bloggers and the public alike.

Now there is an addition to this mix. Enter Current TV as part of the Top TV offering.

South African bloggers and citizen journalists now have a new outlet for their creative efforts as Al Gore’s Current TV launched this weekend as part of Top TV’s entry-level bouquet offering.

Current TV chairman and co-founder Al Gore explains that the TV channel encourages submissions of content of all kinds from young videographers and citizen journalists.

With a particular passion for investigative journalism – he was a journalist himself for many years before entering politics – Gore says CTV is actively looking for news and investigative pieces.

"The accent of Current TV is on citizen and investigative journalism," he says. "I need not say how important it is to civilisation and democracy to have vigorous investigative journalism.

IT-Online – http://www.it-online.co.za/content/view/2076841/142/ reported that Gore told them that Current TV hopes to avoid some of the legal and regulatory problems that have plagued some other blogger or citizen journalism platforms by following a particular submission process that will help raise professional standards and ensure legal compliance.

The key thing is that "Current TV is open in that the viewers themselves decide what content will go on the channel." Before content is aired on Current TV, it is first loaded on to the company’s web site, http://www.current.com, where users critique offerings and select those they wish to see broadcast.

Anyone can submit content to Current TV, and full directions for doing so are on the site.

Reputation Managers should develop strategies to deal with all types of journalists and watch & monitor the impact of this outlet.

How to Write and Implement a Media Policy!


imageMany managers and owners think that a media policy comprises of just one instruction, namely :’’Never speak to the Media. Refer all enquiries to our spokesperson or Head Office….’’.

However there is more to a media policy than just an instruction that tells staff who will speak or is allowed to speak to the media. A Media Policy can be a document that sets the tone for communication with the Media and other stakeholders.

The advent of the Internet and Social Media have changed the traditional rules and landscape of media relations. Today an employee or a stakeholder can have their own presence on Facebook, have their own blog, send pictures from their phones directly to websites on the Internet, making it more difficult to control messages.

Some companies profess to believe in engagement with stakeholders, yet do not allow their staff to access social networking sites, whilst others embrace the new technologies. Some cite bandwidth issues as their biggest constraint, yet time and time again it has been shown that unless transparency is understood, a company will not easily open up to these new tools.

This makes the writing of a media policy a vital exercise to steer clear of potential reputation risk. This makes the writing of this policy no longer the responsibility of the PR department, but that of the Risk Committee.

Writing a best practice media policy will therefore need discussions with subject matter and 3rd party experts, dialogue with stakeholders, an understanding of the issues in a company as well as knowledge of the latest laws, rules, regulations, needs and expectations of stakeholders.

Only when these issues have been discussed and researched, can a policy be written. I also believe that it is vital for any business not just to design and write a best practice media policy, but that this policy should be accompanied by a guideline that contains hints to deal with not only the media but also communication with other stakeholders.

To write a media policy you will need specialised help. You can either work with your PR Company or enlist the services of an external services provider such as a specialised writer and/or a Social Media company to assist you in this regard.

Here is a part example of a policy and a short checklist to guide you in this process (Please note that this is not a complete list).

Example of a Media Policy

The objective of the XYZ Company’s Corporate Communications policy and procedure is to ensure that the information contained in all communication with stakeholders is consistent, accurate, fair and timely.

(This statement is not as simple as it looks. Issues of transparency needs to be carefully researched, especially legal issues, issues of voluntary, mandatory and involuntary disclosure and whether the organisation wants to be transparent, i.e intent)

To ensure this, it is the policy of  the XYZ Company that:

The Company will comply with all laws and regulations regarding public disclosure of material events, financial results and operations;

  1. The Company is committed to non-selective, fair disclosure of information about The Company without advantage or disadvantage to any participant in the financial market place;
  2. The Company will voluntarily disclose any non-material information, which is not the subject of a confidentiality agreement and determined by senior management to be in the interest of stakeholders, shareholders, the investment community and the public;
  3. All disclosures to the media will be communicated by an authorised Media Relations Officer or designate;
  4. All disclosures to the financial community, including investment analysts, brokers and current or potential investors will be communicated by the CEO, CFO, and Investor Relations or their designate(s);
  5. All the Company media releases, information prepared for the financial community, and all other Company related information for public disclosure must follow the procedures for review and approval outlined herein;
  6. The External Communications Policy applies to all the Company employees and, with respect to their reference to the Company, all subsidiaries and associates;
  7. Management will be responsible for ensuring that this policy and related procedures are communicated and followed consistently in their operations;
  8. Non-compliance with this policy may damage the Company’s reputation and/or cause the Company and/or its shareholders to be prejudiced and to suffer damages and/or losses;
  9. As with all of The Company’s policies any non-compliance will be treated as serious and will result in disciplinary action and could give rise to civil and/or criminal liability on the part of the employee. It is the responsibility of all employees to familiarise themselves with this policy.

The Public Relations Manager can be contacted should an employee wish to seek clarity or assistance with respect to any aspect of this policy.

Example of a Checklist: Due thought needs to be given to the clarification of procedures for preparation, review and approval of external communication materials:

  1. Media Relations
  2. Industry Analyst Relations
  3. Financial Analyst Relations
  4. Stakeholder Relations
  5. Conference/Seminar/Roundtable/Speaking Opportunities/White Papers/Opinion Pieces
  6. Corporate Identity
  7. Email Signatures
  8. Crisis Communications
  9. Acquisitions, Partnerships, Subsidiaries and associates
  10. Naming conventions
  11. Customer/External Newsletters
  12. Internal Newsletter
  13. Website and Intranet issues
  14. Blogging, Facebook usage, Wikis and other Social Media
  15. IT related issues.

As you can see, due thought has to go into the writing of this policy. Who needs to be consulted and vet certain information? Example – Internal newsletter may have content and remuneration information that has to be cleared by the Human Resources Director.

From a reputation risk perspective, you want clear policies, implementation guidelines & tips for all of these areas.

Writing the policy is one thing. Once you have written it, it needs to be authorised by the Board, and other parties such as the Company’s Legal and PR representatives. Getting the policy scrutinised by external 3rd party experts is advisable.

Once the policy is approved, it is useless to just distribute it and get it to be filed in the company’s policy manual. It is also not sufficient to just communicate the contents via a memorandum or e-mail to managers and staff.

I believe that it is vital that specific training is conducted throughout the organisation, so that staff can understand the dangers and peril of irresponsible communication and the impact it can have on the reputation of the institution. Training managers in Media Relations awareness is not the same as Media Spokesperson training and the two should not be confused.

Media awareness training differs from practical spokesperson coaching. Let me explain. Companies traditionally appoint two to three spokespersons. The spokespeople (who are carefully chosen), need to receive hands on practical training in front of cameras, microphones and live audiences. This type of training is  expensive and time intensive and is normally conducted in a studio. Some trainers put spokespersons on the spot and then proceed to show them their weaknesses. This often breaks down people self-confidence levels and should be avoided (You cannot build on sand). Spokesperson training should be positive and uplifting and conducted in simulated environments.

However I believe that general management also need “contextual” training – training that will add to their understanding but that can be added on in a studio later. It is this training that is needed to ensure adherence and compliance with the Media policy.

Managers need to understand the media stakeholder, how they operate and how to conduct themselves in a media interview situation. This is typically the type of training I conduct in my Media Survival Skills workshop.

Often senior management are the people who have to formulate the messages that spokespersons need to convey or decide on an approach in dealing with the media. They therefore need to understand the media stakeholder, so that these messages and chance interactions with the media will be positive and uplifting.

My favourite saying is that media relations need to be approached with strategic intent and if you do not know the rules of the game, how can you play it.

I believe that my recommended two-tier approach to writing a Media policy and implementation is the best for building sound media relations and minimise that type of reputation risk in the organisation.

New MediaMetricsTM results introduced


Friday, 06 November 2009 07:50

On 30 October 2008 Vision Africa, a full-service marketing and stakeholder research company held a breakfast for media agencies and selected corporate companies to present the results of the 2009 MediaMetricsTM, a product of Vision Africa in Windhoek, Namibia.

At the occasion, Cornelius D’Alton briefly gave a short history of the company as it is celebrating its 10th year of existence, while Liza Burmeister, Accounts Director elaborated on some of the findings of the MediaMetricsTM study.

As a first, Vision Africa also invited Deon Binneman, owner of RepuComm, an independent consultant on reputational management, public relations and corporate communication and organisational development to address those present on “What is Reputation?”.
MediaMetricsTM has been developed to provide large and medium size organisations with affordable, reliable and accurate information about their target audiences’ viewing, listening and reading habits and preferences, as well as other measurements related to brand awareness and communication.

The socio-demographic and media consumption database forms the core of the study, including components such as Demographics and Media Consumption (Radio, TV & Printed media).  More emphasis was placed on obtaining TV viewing information as this is a growing marketing medium in Namibia.

Says Liza: “Some of the findings which were shared with invited guests included results such as, that NBC Oshiwambo Radio Service was the most listened to radio station in Namibia; ‘All about Camilla’ was the most favourite programme on NBC Television.  The Namibian newspaper remained the most often read newspaper and was seen as ‘the voice of the people’. When asked about truly Namibian brands, Namibia Breweries came to mind most often, while First National Bank was the most often mentioned Namibian bank. Soccer was the most attended sport followed by Netball.  The favourite music included Kwaito, Gospel, Soft and Traditional music.”

For further information please contact : +264 61 244 660

Want to Learn how to Defend and Protect your Organisation’s biggest Asset & Risk?


What: Reputation Protection & Defence Master Class
2 – day Master Class on how to protect and defend an organisation’s reputation. It covers from Reputation Risk, Crisis Management, Crisis Communication & Online Reputation issues.
When: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 (all day)
Where: Hotel Apollo, Randburg, Johannesburg

Bram Fischer Drive
Johannesburg, Gauteng   South Africa
This event is a must attend for PR & Communication Managers, Corporate Affairs, Compliance Officers and Risk Managers.

Lies, Lies…..Impact!


j0438805 How naive some people can be!

Do they really think that in today’s age, lies will not have an impact?

The pathetic handling of the Caster Semenya’s case by the ASA (Athletics SA) is now having a ripple effect.

Leonard Chuene, the president of ASA, has admitted he lied about knowing of the IAAF’s request for tests as well as tests done in South Africa on Semenya before the event.

Worse of all, the ASA council on Thursday decided Chuene could keep his post even after the Department of Sports and Recreation said he should be fired. So by implication, they condone lies.

Is this a case of Medals before truth?

Well, it does not matter what they say or decided. ASA’s reputation is in tatters.

The Business Report today ran an article with the Headline: ‘’Nedbank pulls out as sponsor of ASA events’’

Nedbank, the biggest backer of road-running events for ASA, said sponsorship negotiations this year would take into account the sports body’s handling of Caster’s sex tests. Nedbank has decided to terminate its sponsorship a year earlier due to logistical reasons…….

Obviously the lies and handling of this case, has speeded up the decision process. Nedbank currently is leveraging its approach to sustainability being carbon- free and cannot afford to get their reputation tarnished by standing up for a lie.

It is my professional opinion that many leaders do not understand the ramifications of small actions on their and their organisation’s reputations. Obviously leaders are not being sensitised to the dangers of reputation risk. They do not understand it and think that they can get away with so-called white lies.

The danger is that cracks even when glued up will show up for years.

Cut out Today’s Page 20 from the Business Report (Star Newspaper)


The Media is a powerful Stakeholder Group and for me one of the best ways that I have seen the Media re-emphasise this; is through the full page spread that appeared in today’s Star Newspaper – Business Report Section Page 20.

The Headline caption reads: ‘’For the news, turn to the news leaders’’

Just read the following: Independent Newspapers remains the leading newspaper publisher in South Africa, dominating the country’s four major metropolitan areas. The group has a nett weekly readership of 6, 768 million adults. The page then goes further to show the photos and details of their award winning journalists.

This is a good page to cut out and put in your Media Relations file and database.

Looking at the stats above, do you need any further encouragement to start a dedicated media relations function in your organisation?

Best Practices for Managing & Protecting Business Reputation


According to Wikipedia, “Best practices can also be defined as the most efficient (least amount of effort) and effective (best results) way of accomplishing a task, based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people.”

There are best practices for identifying and mitigating reputation risk in different types of companies as well as best practices for managing reputation as an asset. Please note that not every environment or every company is the same. Your unique environment may require different configurations in order to provide the best protection results.

If you have questions about your environment and would like some guidance on mitigating reputation risk, contact deonbin (at) icon.co.za

Like all of the intangible assets whose value has escalated in recent years (other examples are talent, knowledge, know- how and intellectual property), reputation has often been overlooked by organisations because it is so difficult to comprehend.

It is only when a reputation incident severely damages the credibility of an organisation or one of its brands, or its standing in the eyes of its stakeholders, that the potentially catastrophic consequences of not managing the crisis properly become apparent. Studies of organisations that have handled crises affecting their reputation badly have identified long term and irreparable damage to share price, market share and brand value.

The recent eye-gouging incident by the Springbok flanker, Schalk Burger is a classical example of this. Not only was he suspended for 8 weeks, but the incident itself has raised the ire of the rugby loving public and the matter was compounded by the inept handling of the media conference by the coach, Peter de Villiers about the matter.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/rugbynation/rugby-news/2009/07/03/i-m-no-thug-insists-banned-springbok-schalk-burger-91466-24062279/

Many organisations make the mistake of assuming that all that is needed is media training and crisis planning. However, a reputation crisis exposes to public and media scrutiny not only the organisation’s competence at crisis handling, but the values, standards and shortcomings that existed beforehand.

In this instance, The Schalk Burger affair was compounded when he only formally apologized about a week after the incident.

While crisis communications largely remains a case-by-case practice, the author Laurence Barton said there are two essential immediate steps both individuals and companies should always use to control the media storm during a scandal.

1. Come clean. Issue a statement admitting to wrongdoing and accepting full responsibility (assuming the allegations are true, of course).

2. Apologize. Sincere acts of contrition can go a long way in getting back into the good graces of the public and media.

j0435243

 

Every crisis must be handled differently, but in every crisis there should be a party accepting blame, and that party should apologize as soon as possible for being the cause of that blame. The end result – The Company’s integrity and reputation must be maintained at all cost.

Who said so: Warren Buffett and David Glass, CEO of Wall- Mart!

 

The problem is that apologizing does not come easily. The starting point of any reputation recovery process is a believable apology.

According to Wharton marketing professor Lisa Bolton, three key components ensure that an apology will work:

  1. The CEO must deliver the message,
  2. A solution to a problem must be outlined (Like a product recall process) and
  3. Some remuneration should be in place. The initial response is the most important," she says. "The general advice is to admit mistakes and try not to be defensive. Get out in front of the story. Get your admission and mitigation out there as well, and consider financial compensation. Also, customize your response in relation to the magnitude of the failure."

It is my belief that apology also goes hand in hand with the strategic communication process in any organization. For instance , if a company have not debated PRIOR to a crisis whether they are going to be open and transparent, do you think an apology will be forthcoming? (See the article Use this tool to improve transparency in your organisation in Powerlines Number 39 dated 20 November 2002).

The reputation best practice strategy should, therefore, have two simple objectives – to prevent the causes that could damage your reputation, and to minimise the impact if, despite your best endeavours, a reputation crisis should occur.

Here is a partial list of some of the best practices to consider:

  1. Develop ways to understand the nature of your reputation
  2. Design & develop a reputation risk management strategy that can act as a roadmap for strengthening risk management in particularly vulnerable areas
  3. Work together with PR, Risk and Compliance departments to close gaps
  4. Develop standards and controls for the action that the strategy places most importance on
  5. Learn how to proactively manage elements of reputations
  6. Provide reputation management training, education and communication to obtain the vital support and commitment of your employees and managers
  7. Design analysis and monitoring mechanisms to provide early warning of problems or crises
  8. Develop a process of continuous crisis assessment
  9. Conduct regular crisis planning and testing
  10. Ensure regular reporting and monitoring of reputation risk, including incident analysis, issue management, environmental forecasting and online reputation monitoring.

Some organisations have attempted part of this best practices process themselves, particularly the first few stages. In my experience, they are severely disadvantaged by being too close to the issues, or by risking avoiding taboo or politically difficult areas, or by not challenging assumptions vigorously or objectively enough.

If you would like to learn more about best practices in building, managing and protecting corporate reputation, why not attend one of our learning interventions?

GCIS issues Inauguration Guidelines for the Media


Following the African National Congress’s win in South Africa’s general elections of 22 April, Jacob Zuma is to be sworn in as the country’s fourth president of the post-apartheid era. The inauguration ceremony will take place on the 9 May 2009 at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Dealing with large scale international events as well as with Government requires a clear understanding of protocol and event proceedings.Thankfully, South Africa’s Government Communication and Information System has issued guidelines to the media covering the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/csukba

Fast Tracking Media Enquiries


So, you get a request for information from the Media. Do you act as quickly as possible, stall, ignore the request or put it on your list of things to do.

It depends. It depends on your understanding of the rules of engagement and the context in which an organization operates.

Media inquiries, whether crisis-related or routine, are an outstanding opportunity for companies to manage the most important asset they have — their corporate reputation. However media relations need to be seen in a context. That context involves understanding the rules of the game and of engagement.

I always like start with the end purpose in mind (ala Covey).

What is the end purpose in Media Relations?

It is to convey messages to targeted audiences, for example – voters – messages, whose purpose is to advance your organisation’s goals, raise its profile, and uphold its reputation. This means that journalists becomes a means to an end and are conduits or tools. This means that the focus of Media relations is about creating an ongoing dialogue between a news outlet and your spokespeople in an effort to have you or your company discussed in a positive light, in public, through a publication, or broadcast.

In order to this you need to focus on creating relationships with media people. But before you can create a relationship you need to understand the rules of the game. You need to know the rules of the game, because if you do not you may be caught out by not understanding the law, customs, conventions and standard operating procedures relating to the media. It means that you need to know how they operate and approach their job.

That knowledge in turn will shape your attitude towards journalists and editors. For instance if you distrust and dislike journalists, it will generally show and affect your dealings with the media.

I think that the media in general sees themselves as a ‘watchdog’ against big business and institutions. For example many major institutions have systems for communicating information. The entire advertising industry exists for the sole purpose of communicating good news and propaganda about products, services, companies, organisations and even organisations. You seldom see a press advertisement or a TV commercial telling the public what is wrong with a product or what a company failed to do. Why?

In an environment where the public is bombarded with information from advertising, public relations sources, organisation information units, ‘spin doctors’ in industry and professional associations, lobbyists and so on, journalists and editors believe that they must provide a balance by consciously and aggressively searching for the bad news. They see themselves as devil advocates, standing guard for right and truth. If you understand that you will understand how they view their jobs, and you can then find ways to make their job easy.

For example – by becoming a trusted resource you put money in the reputation bank for the future.

Too often I see people focusing on how wrong the media is, etc… Perhaps by focusing on the end purpose, there will be better clarity. In one organisation the management team was of the opinion that it was not their job to make it easy for the Media to report on them. Through work shopping and working with them I was able to get them to realise that the principles of negotiation also applies to media relations. That the focus should be on win-win, and not win-lose!

Once they had the knowledge and understanding it was easier to persuade them to see the use of the media as an opportunity and not a bind.