Media Relations, Media Training

Setting Ground Rules for a Reporter Interviews

Most PR people know about setting ground rules for a reporter interview, but most attorneys probably don’t. The vast majority of the time, you won’t need them, but there are times when ground rules can be indispensable. “Ground rules” is originally a baseball term that refers to the rules that apply to specific ball parks, or grounds. Those rules are set in advance of the game or the season, and they specify what the result is, say, if a ball hits the edge of a fence or if it lodges in ivy on the wall. In PR, “ground rules” refers to the terms of an interview, also set in advance. What statements by the subject of the interview can be used? What topics are off limits? What answers will be off the record? Is the whole conversation off the record? If you as a PR person think that a reporter…

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Media Relations, Media Training

What to do When You’re Not Happy With the Reporting

All PR people have been in this situation: You work hard to pitch a good story or set up a good interview, and a journalist responds to your pitch and seems to be ready to publish something. But at some point before the piece is published, you get the sense that your efforts are being “rewarded” with a story that isn’t going to go the way you want it to. The reporter may be taking an angle that is unfavorable to your client or may be de-emphasizing your client’s point of view. The situation may not be your fault, but the lawyer or the law firm isn’t going to be interested in hearing about that. What should you do, and what should you not do? Do go directly to the reporter on the story in a timely manner with a phone call that is pointed but polite. Ask her if…

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Press Releases, Public Relations, Writing, Writing Advice

Simplifying the Complicated News Release

There has been a lot of discussion among public relations professionals about the value of a press release. I don’t think the concept of a press release is “dead” especially went it comes to a complicated issue such as a court filing or a motion to dismiss. In these instances, the news release is very much alive but the dilemma on how to explain a complicated issue is real. It brings into opposition two essential objectives of communication that are extremely relevant in our efforts to reach out to the media and gain coverage: clarity and accuracy. It is possible to communicate effectively with the media and achieve our PR objectives without dumbing down the press release or making key details confusing. Here are five good rules for doing this. Take time to understand the details. You will write a much better press release if you fully understand what it’s about….

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Uncategorized

Unexpected PR Advice for Lawyers from a General Counsel

It’s a gift when an outside lawyer can hear directly from the client what they value most. Noel Elfant, Vice President and General Counsel of DeLaval, outlined the “small stuff” he expects from his outside counsel in this provocative article in law.com last week. I was doing my happy dance when I read this bullet point which hits home with what I advise my clients daily: Keep close tabs on industry news relevant to the client’s business, and share important developments on a regular basis, perhaps with a short, tailored explanation that contextualizes the information for its use. What Elfant is talking about is essentially routine services that benefit the client that doesn’t require a lot of time or specialized understanding – or other types of activities, such as getting to know the client’s business, that lawyers should do on their own time. Elfant emphasized not waiting for the client to ask….

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