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How to Work with the News Media to Tell Your Story What We’ll Cover Why get coverage? The basics: The “Golden Rules” of generating coverage Determining what is newsworthy Types of media What We’ll Cover continued The art of the pitch Tools of the trade Building campaigns

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Presentation Transcript
How to Work

with the News Media

to Tell Your Story

what we ll cover
What We’ll Cover
  • Why get coverage?
  • The basics: The “Golden Rules” of generating coverage
  • Determining what is newsworthy
  • Types of media
what we ll cover continued
What We’ll Cover continued
  • The art of the pitch
  • Tools of the trade
  • Building campaigns
  • Coordinating with the MIT News Office
what we ll cover continued4
What We’ll Cover continued
  • Working with science journals
  • The view from Sloan
  • A journalist’s perspective
  • Q&A
why get coverage
Why Get Coverage?
  • Visibility is crucial
  • Universities are more competitive
  • Validation: the value of buzz
  • Funding
  • Media awareness is an expectation in any communications position
10 golden rules for coverage
10 Golden Rules for Coverage
  • Know what’s going on in the world.
  • Start with passion and conviction.
  • Be clear, concise and compelling.
  • Be above board.
  • Be accessible.
  • Keep it personal (no blast faxes)
10 golden rules for coverage7
10 Golden Rules for Coverage
  • Don’t waste people’s time.
  • Know the publication.
  • Keep great lists of contacts.
  • The value of MIT: we’re at the forefront of the science and technology revolution.
what is newsworthy
What is Newsworthy?
  • Must have a hook!
    • New discovery
    • Release of a major study or report
    • Anniversary
    • Symposium
what is newsworthy continued
What is Newsworthy? continued
  • Famous name
  • Major gift and/or new center
  • Big speaker
  • Offers an “insider’s view”
what is newsworthy continued10
What is Newsworthy? continued
  • Meets one of more of these qualities:
    • Changing the world
    • Solving real world problems
    • Unprecedented
    • Topical: ties into the national discourse
    • Makes a complex technology understandable
what is newsworthy continued11
What is Newsworthy? continued
  • Quirky
  • Can you regionalize it?
  • Does it have a Boston angle?
  • What do YOU think is cool?
what is not newsworthy
What is NOT Newsworthy?
  • Something that already happened.
  • “Kids doing interesting stuff”.
  • Routine promotions.
  • Most gifts.
  • Most awards.
  • Small, niche conferences/events.
who do you want to reach
Who Do You Want to Reach?
  • What kind of news is it?
  • Who is the audience?
  • Who are your spokespeople?
  • When is it happening?
  • What’s on your own wish list?
about the media
About the Media
  • Thousands of potential outlets
  • Immerse yourself in the media
  • Understand timing and deadlines
  • Constantly changing: keep current lists
  • Print is not dead
  • Most influential: Globe, New York Times, Wall Street Journal
  • Reporters vs. editors
  • Beat reporters, features, op-ed, columnists
  • City desks for breaking news
  • There are over 13,000 magazines in the U.S.
    • General interest consumer
    • Specialized consumer
    • Business
    • Trade
  • MIT focus: science, technology, business, but trying to broaden
  • Special sections and editorial calendars
  • Timing/Lead Times
    • 3-4 months for monthlies
    • 3-4 weeks for weeklies
  • Primary news source for 69% of Americans (source: TVA)
    • News broadcasts (local and national)
    • News shows
    • Talk shows
    • Science/Technology-specific shows
    • Documentaries
television continued
Television continued
  • Live vs. taped
  • Visual components required
  • Charismatic, telegenic spokesperson
  • 3 minutes total; 15 second speaking points
  • Documentary film requests: rarely worth it
  • NPR before Grand Rapids radio
  • Somewhat effortless: Often taped or live by office phone
  • Easier exposure for “experts”
  • Tools are new but old rules apply.
  • Wide exposure; fleeting vs. major impact
  • Mega news sites: CNN, MSNBC,
  • Internet-only: Salon, Slate, CNET
  • Blogs
  • AP and Reuters stories syndicate to hundreds of papers/day.
  • Get one, they all call.
  • Real news wires vs. for-pay wires.
  • Must be big news.
the art of the pitch
The Art of the Pitch
  • Distill it to its essence: What are the 3 most important points?
  • Remember:
    • What is the news?
    • Who does it impact?
    • Why should a journalists and his/her readers care?
the art of the pitch continued
The Art of the Pitch continued
  • LCS 35th Anniversary:
    • On April 12, the MIT Lab for Computer Science will celebrate 35 years at a 2-day conference called “LCS 35”. Featured guests include Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, architect Frank Gehry, WWW inventor Tim Berners-Lee, and emcee Bob Metcalfe.
the art of the pitch continued25
The Art of the Pitch continued
  • Project Oxygen press briefing:
    • Press briefing on Project Oxygen, an ambitious research program involving 250 researchers from the MIT LCS.
    • Project Oxygen goal: to develop a new breed of human-centered computers that will enable people to do more by doing less.
    • Oxygen will forge a new computing metaphor that will mark a radical shift in today’s desktop computing systems.
the art of the pitch continued26
The Art of the Pitch continued
  • MIT New Building Project:
    • MIT has embarked on one of the most ambitious building programs in American higher education.
    • The $1 billion effort will utilize the talents of some of the world’s finest architects and planners, including 3 Pritzker prize winners, and will involve more than a dozen major building projects and renovations.
the art of the pitch continued27
The Art of the Pitch continued
  • The end result of this bold effort will be a campus whose look and feel will be considerably transformed.
tools of the trade
Tools of the Trade
  • Tools:
    • News releases
    • Media alerts
  • Methods:
    • Email pitches
    • Voicemails
tools of the trade29
Tools of the Trade
  • News release format:
    • Contact info
    • Headline
    • Dateline
    • Lead paragraph (sometimes 2)
    • (Quote)
    • Supporting text
    • Boiler plate
tools of the trade30
Tools of the Trade
  • Media alert format:
    • What
    • When
    • Where (include maps)
    • RSVP
    • About
    • Contact
    • Other Important Details
tools of the trade31
Tools of the Trade
  • Use the tools to support proactive efforts
    • Voicemails
    • Email pitches
building a campaign
Building a Campaign
  • Broader mission than news
  • Multiple news, targets, types of awareness
  • Based on solid institute priorities
building a campaign33
Building a Campaign
  • What is important long term?
  • How do we want to be considered/identified?
  • Who do we want to reach?
  • Where will we have long term impact?
  • Where do we need awareness to support our goals?
building a campaign continued
Building a Campaign continued
  • Current campaigns:
    • Biotech
    • Admissions
    • Cambridge Relations
    • Building Project
building a campaign continued35
Building a Campaign continued
  • Audiences
  • New News
  • Spokespeople
building a campaign continued36
Building a Campaign continued
  • Determine news
  • Look for broader topics or events
  • Create a timeline that maps both
    • News
    • Events
    • Outside events/happenings
    • Timely trends
building a campaign continued37
Building a Campaign continued
  • Determine targets and wish list
  • Pick a focus (too broad will be too hard)
  • Legitimize
  • Think strategically
building a campaign continued38
Building a Campaign continued
  • Explore other kids of coverage/awareness
    • Op-eds & bylined articles
    • Photo ops & event listings
    • Speaking/conferences
  • Return to – and always add to – the timeline
  • Aim for one external awareness “hit” per month