Handling the Media

by Jennifer Stenhouse

Media campaign key tips

Key tip

Be proactive. Before launching into a media foray, set your objectives.

What is your intention? Are you

  • Increasing awareness?
  • Working towards a tangible and positive outcome?
  • Lobbying a specific group?
  • Updating information?
  • Flagging a diary event?

Ask yourselves

  • What information do you want to communicate?
  • To whom?
  • Through which media?
  • Is your information accurate?
  • What are your key messages?
  • Are there any non-verbal cues you can use in support, such as visuals, sound, music or packaging?

Remember to

  • Be credible
  • Make your message appropriate to the audience
  • Make the message meaningful
  • Keep it short and simple
  • Maintain your contacts
  • Use the appropriate channels of communication
  • Provide the correct information or proper spokesperson at the right time

Journalists all have different deadlines and agendas

  • Always be on guard with a journalist
  • Develop relationships – make ‘friends’
  • Get to know well those journalists who are important to you
  • Always make yourself available to help
Key tip

Look on every an encounter with the media as a positive opportunity.

With thorough preparation, you can retain influence – in even the worst scenario – and use it to work in your favour.


Get to know the photographers your organisation works with. Find out what they’re good at, how much they cost and their methods of working. Also cultivate photographers in the media. Pictures can make or break a campaign.

If planning a photo call, remember that photo opportunities need plenty of creative thinking if they aren’t naturally news. Talk to picture editors about what they want and discuss any potential photo story with them.