Public Awareness Office - Editorial Services:

  1. Operational Practice
    1. Policy
    2. Practice and Responsible Parties
    3. Background
  2. Support Materials
    1. Press releases
    2. Spokesperson media training
    3. Crisis communication management
    4. Letters to the editor
    5. Op-eds
    6. Press kits
    7. Media relations
    8. Press conferences
    9. Desired outcomes
    10. Top media outlets




Public Awareness Office Editorial Services

1a. Policy:             Section V.C.1.b of ALA Policy 6.4.1:    

ALA provides to divisions at no extra charge the following services of ALA Departments and Offices:

a. Staff Support Services Department

  • Office space and related service
  • Telephone services: switchboard, 800 number, and internal service, as defined in an Operational Practice
  • Distribution services
  • Basic furniture and equipment (as defined in an Operational Practice) for each regular Division staff member
  • Equipment maintenance on equipment supplied by ALA
  • Personnel services
  • Purchasing
  • Data processing (as defined in an Operational Practice)
  • Storage and warehouse space

b. Member Programs and Services and Communications Departments: Public information services, including the preparation and distribution of news releases

1b. Practice and Responsible Parties:    

The Public Awareness Office (PAO) works collaboratively with divisions (and other units) to promote ALA and division (and unit) activities. PAO coordinates media relations efforts; provides public relations counsel; arranges for media training for division vice-presidents; and handles crisis communications.

PAO provides a press release service. After PAO has edited the draft press release submitted by the division(or other units)  and receives sign-off by the originator, PAO posts the release to the ALA Web site and the release is distributed through ALA News and AL Direct. In consultation with the division (or unit), PAO may also send the press release to targeted media lists.

PAO is also available to consult and assist on media outreach efforts. During the consultation session, PAO and the division (and unit) will discuss the goals, objectives, target audiences, messages, tactics, and desired outcomes. Divisions (and units)  may be asked to fill out a planning document to provide background needed to move forward the collaborative discussion. Tactics that the division (and the unit) and PAO might use include the development of talking points, press kits, or letters to the editor. In these situations, PAO works collaboratively with the division (and unit)  to develop and disseminate the materials. Divisions (and units)  will be asked to provide the research, background information, outlines or first drafts to help develop these materials. Other tactics such as writing op-eds, creating PSA’s, or holding press conferences outside of Midwinter and Annual Conference, go beyond the resources PAO can provide divisions (and units). In these situations, PAO will work with the division (and units)  to provide names of free lance writers or media relations firms to assist the division (and unit). In the case of op-eds, PAO will submit the op-ed to target publications.

PAO serves as the main contact for calls about ALA issues from reporters and encourages staff to inform PAO of media inquiries. PAO connects member leaders with media opportunities. (See also policy 6.4 and 9.1).

On a daily basis, PAO will review media coverage and inquiries from reporters in order to identify an emerging crisis as well as opportunities for messaging. Divisions (and units) are encouraged to contact PAO if they notice a potential media crisis or opportunities for messaging. If a crisis takes place, PAO works with the division (or unit)  to develop and implement a plan based on the ALA Crisis Communications Plan.

PAO measures media coverage of ALA activities through an Internet list of coverage and a vendor search for mentions of ALA in the top daily newspapers and news web sites. PAO prepares a quarterly report of this media coverage for the ALA Executive Board. PAO also prepares media coverage reports for division-sponsored events (e.g., Teen Read Week and El día de los niños/El día de los libros) that PAO works on.

PAO will work with attending media at press conferences (e.g., the Youth Media Awards Press Conference) held at Midwinter and Annual Conference. Due to staffing issues and other demands from reporters, PAO may not always be available to attend other Midwinter and Annual press conference and press activities. Division (and unit) staff should plan to staff all division-related press conferences and events.

Each year, at the invitation of MPS, PAO organizes a multi-hour media training for ALA division vice-presidents, as part of the division vice-presidents’ orientation. MPS pays for this service. If a division (or unit)  is interested in providing additional media training to other division members or staff, PAO will introduce the division (or unit) to an ALA media trainer.

PAO is available to provide press office management at division national conferences or other major initiatives to be determined. If a division would like this service, an agreement memo will be developed for both parties to identify roles, responsibilities and desired outcomes. The division pays PAO direct expenses and the division may want to contract with a media relations agency to support PAO efforts. In the event that PAO cannot absorb the work identified as an “other major initiative,” PAO will introduce the division to a media relations agency.

Divisions writing grant proposals (especially federal grants) that include media relations services should consult with PAO and the Development Office during the grant proposal development stage to determine costs. As part of PAO’s press release service, PAO will disseminate releases about the grant project. If the division is interested in additional services, the division will need to contract with a media relations agency.

1c. Background    

ALA members benefit from having one, centralized public information office that coordinates media relations. PAO and the divisions work collaboratively to promote ALA, the divisions, and the library profession. PAO has prepared more detailed information about its services and the document (Editorial Services Support Materials) is available on the Knowledge Management System.

Prepared by: Mark Gould (Director, Public Information Office, now referred to as the Public Awareness Office) and Cathleen Bourdon (AED, Communications and Member Relations)

Date: May 20, 2008

Reviewed by: Mary Ellen Davis, ACRL; Mary Ghikas, ALA Senior Associate Director; Barb Macikas, RUSA/ASCLA; Beth Yoke, YALSA


Approved by: ALA Senior Management, July 2008

Updated Feb. 17, 2010.



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2. Editorial Services Support Materials

Developed by the Public Information Office, April 2008
Revised July 2016


2a. Press releases

Each year, PAO distributes hundreds of press releases. Press releases should be prepared in Associated Press style, which is preferred by news media. All press releases are distributed via ALA News, an opt-in service, with more than 800 members and library supporters and 100 media outlets listed. This is not a targeted list.  Some press releases are forwarded to targeted media lists, based on access to national, regional, or local mailing lists, purchased from Cision.

A news release should read like an article, with quotes and facts, to stimulate possible pick-up by newspapers and to generate print and broadcast reports at larger outlets. A news release creates an image or storyline that journalists can use alone or as background when writing an article.

Key elements of a news release

  • Your release should be written like an actual news story, in the inverted pyramid style (most important item to least important) of news writing, with a headline and the most important information at the top.
  • Your release should include quotes from spokespeople.
  • The release should not be longer than two pages.

How to submit a news release

Press releases are now submitted through  Instructions are available on the ITTS Training website at (Username:staff, Password:staff.)


2b. Spokesperson media training    

Each year, ALA provides full-day training to the ALA president. MPS pays for half-day training by the ALA trainer of division presidents-elect. Divisions may want to team up to hire the ALA trainer for an in-service. Costs run around $6,000 for a full-day training session for a maximum of 10 people.

Media relations training can improve staff skills by fine-tuning messages and crafting responses that may be useful in dealing with committees and other key audiences. PAO will connect interested divisions with a recommended ALA media trainer.

Here is an example of the areas covered in a typical training:
8:30-9:15 a.m.             Experiences with the Media
The Media Mindset
Discussion: ALA Key Issues

9:15-9:50 a.m.             The Editorial Process and Where ALA Fits In
Key Messages for All Business with Media
ALA Message Development

9:50-10:00 a.m.                                   ----------break----------

10:00-11:00 a.m.         Message Development (cont)
Handling Q-and-A with Confidence and Control
Talking in Sound Bites Equals Success

11:00 a.m.-noon          Role-Play #1
Television sit-down interview
on a key issue. Playback and
constructive critique.

Noon-12:45 p.m.                                 ----------lunch----------

12:45-1:30 p.m.           Role-Play #2
Print phone-to-phone interview
Playback and constructive critique

1:30-2:15 p.m.             Role-Play #3
Satellite split-screen interview
Playback and constructive critique

2:15-3:00 p.m.             Role-Play #4
Client choice-TV, radio, print
Playback and constructive critique

3:00-3:15 p.m.             Review and close


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2c. Crisis communications management    

ALA Crisis Communications Plan

On a daily basis, PAO will review media coverage, inquiries from reporters and bloggers in order to identify an emerging crisis. On a weekly basis or more often as necessary, the Director, Public Information Office, and Manager of Media Relations will meet to discuss coverage trends and identify potential crisis situations.

The Institute for Crisis Management defines a crisis as: A significant disruption that stimulates extensive news media coverage and public scrutiny that disrupts the organization’s normal business activities.
Some of the common elements of a crisis are that it:

  • Occurs suddenly.
  • Demands quick response.
  • Interferes with organizational performance.
  • Creates uncertainty and stress.
  • Threatens the reputation of an organization.
  • Escalates in intensity.
  • Causes outsiders to scrutinize the organization.
  • Permanently alters the organization.

Types of crises

Sudden Crisis — A disruption in the organization’s business that occurs without warning and is likely to generate news coverage.  Examples of a Sudden Crisis:

  • Death, serious illness or injury of management, employees, contractors, visitors, etc.
  • Sudden death or incapacitation of a key executive.
  • Accidents that disrupt telephone or utility service.
  • Any natural disaster that disrupts operations and endangers employees.
  • Workplace violence.

Smoldering Crisis — Any serious organizational or business problem that is not generally known within or outside the organization, which may generate negative news coverage if or when it goes public and could result in fines, penalties, legal damage, awards and unbudgeted expenses. Some examples of a Smoldering Crisis:

  • Indications of an undercover investigation by a news organization or law enforcement.
  • Violations of government regulations, which could result in fines or legal actions.
  • Action by a disgruntled employee, such as the disclosure of confidential information to government agencies or media.

Smoldering Crisis may start with adverse government actions; false accusations; indictment of an employee; lawsuits; damaging rumors; computer tampering; special interest group attack; whistle-blower threat or actions; activist demonstrations; terrorism threat or action; or damaging rumors.

Staff procedures

The PAO director and deputy director will regularly discuss media coverage and related activity to determine emerging trends and extraordinary coverage and activity. These trends will be reviewed with the associate executive director of communications and member relations and brought to the attention of the executive director.

The Crisis Response Team will include executive director, associate executive director of communications and member relations, PAO director and deputy director. The team will determine if the criteria have been met that indicate that there is a crisis.

Examples of media coverage and related activity that will be reviewed against the criteria of a crisis will include the following:

  • National print columnist or radio or TV commentator attacks ALA and its policies.
  • Print editorial attacking ALA and its policies appears in newspaper in top 20 U.S. markets.
  • Attacks by bloggers regarding key ALA issues during a 60 day period.
  • Announcement of a national TV or radio show focused on ALA and libraries that has an attacking tone.
  • National politician attacks ALA and its policies.
  • Local politician attacks ALA and its policies, and the attack receives national coverage.
  • Series of unrelated articles appear in different publications within a 90-day period that cast ALA and its members in a negative light.
  • Unrelated TV or radio stories that air within a 90-day period cast ALA and its members in a negative light. 
  • ALA leadership or staff receives more than 10 letters or e-mails on any one related topic that attack ALA policies, etc., within a 90-day period.
  • A court rules on a matter of great concern to ALA, or in which ALA is a plaintiff.

Goals of the plan:

  • Fashion a response with key messages that are consistent with ALA’s past statements.
  • If there is going to be a response, choose the appropriate tactic to deliver the message.
  • Choose the appropriate communications channel to deliver message to key audiences.
  • Develop a written response and release it through traditional and new media.
  • Manage reaction to response.
  • Evaluate the program.


The Crisis Response Team will:

  • Discuss and analyze the crisis.
  • Agree on next steps.
  • Create response.
  • Review response with legal counsel, if necessary.
  • Assign an internal point person to handle calls from media and facilitate contact with spokesperson.
  • Inform ALA Executive Board and Council of the crisis and implementation plan.
  • Implement the response. Advise ALA Executive Board and Council about the results.

Spokesperson designates will include the following: ALA president, ALA-president-elect, ALA-Past President, executive director,  or appropriate staff. In addition, when appropriate, spokespersons will be selected from the following groups in the order as indicated:

  • ALA divisions: the order of spokesperson will be president, president-elect, past president, and executive director.
  • Other ALA Offices: executive director will serve as spokesperson.

Response Options:

  • No response.
  • Outreach to allies to respond instead of ALA.
  • Outreach to allies to respond alongside of ALA.
  • A news release or statement.
  • News conference.
  • An exclusive granted to key media.
  • An op-ed piece or letter to editor.
  • A request for a meeting with a reporter, producer, editorial board.
  • A request to speak at a meeting of an organization.
  • The filing of a lawsuit.


Revised by Public Awareness Office, July 2016


Dealing with bad news
The following section was originally developed by Patricia Glass-Schuman, former ALA president, in ALA’s Library Advocates Handbook.

Inevitably, all organizations have to deal with bad news. Budget cuts. Trimmed hours or closed branches. Parents who want to ban books from the library.

While bad news is never good, it can be turned into a positive media message. For example, when a teenage hacker crashed Seattle’s King County Library System’s computer system, closing the library down for three days, the story centered on the marvels of the technology rather than its failure, thanks to the library’s quick and thoughtful response.

Some bad news you can see coming — budget cuts are generally in the works for weeks. Others, like crimes, cannot be anticipated.

Here are a few tips for handling bad news:

  • Don’t overreact. If only one small paper carries the story, respond only to that paper rather than sending out a release to all your media contacts. If they don’t know about the bad news, you probably don’t want to tell them about it.
  • Be strategic. If the news is huge, a press conference is appropriate to communicate the facts, new developments and the library’s response or message. It will save you time and resources to hold one press conference rather than take a dozen individual interviews.
  • Speak with one voice. The most common mistake in crisis communications is to have several spokespeople saying different things. Have one spokesperson, or make sure that all your spokespeople are saying the same thing.
  • Understand interview topics and formats before accepting interviews. During these times, it is very important to be sure you understand the nature of a talk radio show or TV interview before you agree to go on. Don’t speculate. Know who else will be on the show, if there will be call-ins and what the host’s position is before making a choice to go on. If you don’t think you’ll be given a fair hearing, it might not be best to accept the interview.
  • Focus on the solution. Explain how the library is going to address the situation or say that the library is looking for a speedy solution.
  • Apologize when appropriate. “We apologize for any inconvenience to our users. We are doing our best to...” Empathize. Convey caring and understanding.
  • Have all the facts before responding. Often, when news just breaks, not even the media has all the facts. Make sure you know exactly what is going on before responding to something that could just be a rumor or an exaggerated allegation.
  • Prepare briefing materials. As soon as you can, have briefing materials for the media, with accurate facts included.
  • Let lawyers review statements before releasing them. If this situation has legal implications, make sure you consult with a lawyer before making a statement. Avoid “legalese,” but make sure that what you’re saying is OK to say.
  • Stick to the high road. Avoid criticizing or getting personal with your opponents. Don’t be defensive. Staying focused on your message and on the high road will ultimately be your best weapon.


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2d. Letters to the editor    

This tactic is often employed when a key issue of importance to ALA or an ALA division appears in the media and requires more information or a response to an attack. It is expected that the letter will be between 150 and 250 words long, exclusive to the publication and received within 24 hours of the appearance of the original comments. If the information first appears in a national monthly magazine, you will have more time to respond.

Tips from the New York Times regarding letters to the editor will give you some important information about letters to the editor.

Letters to the Editor Tips from the New York Times


Readers of this page know that all letters to the editor, by convention, begin with the same salutation, "To the Editor," as if addressed to some faceless higher authority at The Times. In fact, the mountains of mail that we receive every day pile up on a very real editor's desk.

Every day at least 1,000 submissions, and often far more, pour in to the letters office by email, fax or postal mail. We print an average of 15 letters a day. That means the competition is intense, to say the least. Many, many worthy letters never see print, and those that do cannot reflect all the topics of interest to readers.

What qualifies as a publishable letter to the editor? The answer is necessarily highly subjective. We are looking for a national (and often international) conversation about the issues of the day — big and not so big — as well as fresh, bright writing that stands out through its own charm. Timeliness is a must; brevity will improve your chances; stylishness and wit will win my heart.

In times of great stress, the letters page has become a national town hall meeting of sorts. For months after Sept. 11, 2001, readers gave voice to their shock, horror, sadness and rage. They grieved for the dead, and then asked pointed questions about how the terrorist attacks could have happened. The page was a forum for dissecting the drawn-out presidential election of 2000, and for debating whether we should go to war in Iraq.

Contrary to the impression of some readers, the letters page, unlike the editorials with which we share a home, does not have a political coloration of its own. We are eager to print all points of view — liberal, conservative and anything in between — expressed according to the rules of civil discourse. You are free to agree or disagree with the opinions expressed in the editorials, columns and Op-Ed articles, or with the articles in the news columns. We seek robust debate and strive for balance.

The page is not a scientific survey of public opinion, so the variety of opinions expressed in a package of letters about one topic should not be read as poll results, but rather as a sampling of reader responses.

We welcome letters from all quarters, but especially from ordinary readers who have no titles after their names. Of course, we publish many writers speaking with authority in their areas of expertise, and letters from officeholders responding to criticism in these pages.

But concerned, informed readers have the pride of place here — the thousands who write about what gets them worked up, or what moves them. And no subject is off-limits, within the bounds of good taste.

Many writers offer their insights into how we live our lives — how we drive our S.U.V.'s, gab on our cell phones on our commuter trains, deal with email spam and telemarketers calling during dinner. One couple, responding to a front-page article about Internet dating, took the time to write in from their honeymoon cruise to recount how they met through an online dating service. Many writers, including a 12-year-old whose letter we published, were exercised about an Op-Ed article that took jabs at the adults who read the Harry Potter books.

A few important ground rules: Letters should be kept to about 150 words. (Not enough space? Well, the Gettysburg Address was only about 250 words.) They should be exclusive to The Times and respond to an article that appeared in the newspaper in the last week. In fact, writing by the next day is a good idea. Like other sections of the newspaper, the letters page seeks to be timely, so even a very good letter that arrives three days later may get passed over.

We will try to reach you if your letter is selected, so we need your daytime and evening telephone numbers, as well as your address (we'll protect your privacy). Letters are subject to editing, as is anything that appears in a newspaper, but we send you the edited letters for your approval.

Our door is always open, so keep the cards and letters coming. But, please, hold off on the spam.


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2e. Op-eds    

Op-eds are opinion-editorials of 500 to 2,000 words. Newspapers usually want approximately 500 words.  Each publication has its own rules on length.

  • Strategies: Be timely.  Present evidence to make your point. Be controversial.
  • Criteria:  Will this help the cause? Has the idea been overdone? Can you add a new perspective? New evidence? New solution?  Are you an authority? It is time-consuming to prepare an op-ed.


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2f. Press kits    

Common press kit components:

  • Backgrounder with historical information on ALA, the ALA division or individual.
  • Fact sheet listing specific features, statistics or benefits.
  • Biographies of key executives, individuals, artists, etc.
  • Examples of past press coverage.
  • Photos or other images (high) of key executives, logos, products, etc.
  • A press release detailing the current news.
  • Media contact information (usually of a spokesperson or communications manager).

Most reporters prefer electronic press kits, but a hard copy is useful for a face-to-face meeting with a reporter.  See examples at the ALA Press Center. The division will be responsible for loading the press kit on the Web site and photocopying a hard copy.


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2g. Media relations    


Press Releases
There are a number of ways to present your story to the media. One is through a press release. Each day the media receives hundreds of releases, which means that your release must attract the attention of the person opening the envelope, reading the computer, etc.

You can “break through the clutter” by analyzing your story and finding what would be most interesting to the media. That information should be used in the headline and the first sentence. Don’t, however, overstate the importance of the product or discovery. That will alienate you very quickly from the media. Editors hate overstatement, especially without credible documentation.

Here are other guidelines for releases:

  • Ask yourself: Why would the media be interested in this story? If it’s not of interest, don’t send the release. Err on the side of being brief rather than verbose. The media are usually very busy.
  • To find out what style is acceptable to most media, consult The Associated Press Stylebook, published by The Associated Press, 50 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020.
  • Always use 1.5-line spacing in your material. That leaves room for editing.
  • Always include a contact person’s name, title, phone and e-mail. Make sure that person will be available to answer questions.
  • Use only one side of the paper. This also helps with the editing process.
  • Write “(more)” at the bottom of each page to be sure the editor knows additional information follows.
  • Use a number sign “-30-” at the end of the press release to tell the editor the release ends there.
  • If your release is only of interest to certain audiences, then send it only to editors or reporters who cover that beat. Sending releases to inappropriate editors and reporters earns you a bad reputation.

Media interviews can take place in person, on the phone, live on air, at lunch, in writing or via e-mail. Once you agree to an interview, the media are more or less in control, but a well trained media spokesperson can bridge to his/her messages.  If you need some ground rules, set them before the interview begins. Also understand that there’s no guarantee that a long interview will result in a long article about your program, or that the article will be favorable.

Press conference
Breaking news can be released at a press conference.  However, be sure the news justifies a conference. News conferences tend to be overdone — and inviting the media to what is a poor excuse for news will alienate them.


News briefing
When you don’t have hard news to announce, the news briefing can serve a useful purpose. Reporters don’t expect breaking news, but they realize they’ll be given background information and will have an opportunity to question people in your organization.

Editorial board meeting
In the strictest sense of the term, an editorial board meeting is a get-together for your top person or people or your spokesperson and the editors and editorial writers of a publication.

Media tours
A media tour consists of your top person or spokespeople visiting several cities to hold news briefings, news conferences or interviews with as many representatives of the media as possible. To get media to attend, it’s wise to localize your story. For example, you would choose to go to cities where you have a large presence and you would think up a strong local angle.

Video news release
A video release is the visual version of a media release. Providing the media with a video release can make it easier for local stations to cover a special or newsworthy event. Usually 60 seconds long, a video release provides footage of a new process, product or event from a location that a local TV station would not have the time or budget to cover. It is presented just as if it was news on television and it is expensive.

Fact sheets, backgrounders
Fact sheets contain information that could be useful to the media in creating their story. For example, a fact sheet on a residence for the homeless would tell where it is and how many of them are around the city, state and nation. You would also include information about the building, how many men, women and children it houses, if there’s a waiting list, what services it offers, where it’s funding comes from, the credentials of the staff, if it uses volunteers and where donations can be sent. It may be useful to list what happens there on a typical day.

Giving photographs to the media is very useful if the photo makes a complex story simpler to understand. Always include a caption or cutline with the photo — that makes for easy identification.


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2h. Press conferences    


As a general rule, ALA and PAO do not recommend holding press conferences, since they are expensive and time-consuming to organize. Ask yourself if the topic is worth a news conference, or is a press release sufficient? Is your topic newsworthy or merely noteworthy? Newsworthy information can carry an entire dinner conversation; noteworthy information can only carry on for a minute or two.

News conferences
If you organize a news conference, here are some tips:
Choose a convenient time. Try to avoid conflicts with other big events by:

  • Looking at schedules in your local paper.
  • Cruising online for upcoming events.
  • Asking friends in media about conflicts.

The best times are generally 10 a.m. to noon for deadlines; weekends can work but are risky because fewer news crews and journalists are generally available.

Choose an accessible location. Your site should be:

  • Familiar to the media.
  • Connected to your topic — such as in the library online room for a technology event — for visuals.
  • Easy to get cameras into and, when possible, wheelchair accessible.
  • If the location isn’t yours, make sure you get any needed permission in writing beforehand.

Inform the media about the news conference.

  • Contact the media with an initial notice or advisory that includes the who-what-when-where-why-how. Identify the contact person and indicate that interviews are available.
  • Send a fax and/or email to news directors, assignment editors, wire services, etc., one week to three days in advance of news conference. Also send to individuals who have covered the topic or related news conferences or events. 
  • Make reminder calls to news directors and friendly reporters early that morning.
  • Offer to do phone interviews for those who can’t attend.

Plan the actual news conference.

  • Plan to have appropriate background materials, such as flyers, fact sheets and brochures for attendees to take with them.
  • Draft a press release to go in the press packet summarizing the news with key quotes and contact name.
  • Plan to use a colorful banner or poster behind the podium that says your library name and possibly has a logo or message pertaining to the subject of the press conference.

For the program itself, plan on few speakers — no more than four or five. Keep it short (total time should be no more than 15 minutes) and to one point. Brief all speakers beforehand (initially by phone and, if possible, in a group prior to the event); talk to them about time, focus and likely questions. Provide talking points and a conference agenda. Choose someone to do the introductions, direct questions and end the news conference.

Work with the site hosting the event to ensure you have the necessary room set-up items. These may include:

  • Sign-in table outside or immediately inside the room.
  • Table on which to place background materials.
  • Easels for posters or charts.
  • Place to hang banner.
  • Podium or table with podium for speakers.
  • Proper or desired type of microphones, one for speaker and others for Q&A. Some may prefer lavaliere microphones that clip onto clothing.
  • Mult-box: this is an audio division that radio and television stations prefer, so that they can receive high quality audio from the podium microphone.

At the event itself:

  • Distribute the press kit with the release.
  • Prepare (or plant) several questions in the audience. Ask friends or friendly press in the audience to open up the Q&A with one as soon as the news conference is complete.
  • Have back-up documentation, photos and statistics available to help in answering questions.
  • Take attendance at a sign-in table. Note who asked sympathetic questions during the news conference. Write down unanswered or poorly answered questions.
  • Hire event photographer/videographer.

When the event is finished, take these follow-up steps:

  • Call people who said they would attend but did not to ask if they would be interested in phone or in-person interviews or another way for them to get the story.
  • Fax, e-mail or get releases to key outlets that didn’t attend and may be interested.
  • Get back to anyone who asked an unanswered question at the news conference.
  • Fax or e-mail releases to weeklies or others who normally don’t send people to cover events.  Offer pictures from the event.
  • Monitor press coverage — possibly use clipping service — and distribute best clips online to electronic discussion lists, etc.
  • Thank those who covered the event well.
  • Incorporate any new names, e-mails, addresses, phone or fax numbers into press list.
  • Review entire event to determine what went right and wrong.


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2i. Desired outcomes    

PAO will develop a summary report that outlines media relations coverage for major initiatives.
Most agencies identify four ways to determine impact of media relations efforts.  Number one is the simplest way to determine amount of coverage achieved. The other measures are expensive and require outside vendors to obtain information mentioned.

  • Establish target number of impressions and/or placements.
  • Conduct an awareness study before and after the campaign to see if “the needle moved.”
  • Track customer traffic or sales.
  • Track changes in public opinion or attitude.



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2j. Top 100 Daily Newspapers, Web Outlets    

The following is a list of the top 100 daily newspapers and top 100 Web outlets based on circulation rate and viewers per month.



Top 100 Web Outlets

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