The Flack highlights changes and trends in the news, examples of communications practices, and content we at BYRNE PR thought you might find useful.
We hope you enjoy, and we always welcome your feedback.
The world has changed for all of us over the past few months, and media outlets have not been shielded from the impact of COVID-19. At BYRNE PR, we speak with reporters/producers from local, national and trade media every week.
Following are a few things we’ve learned:
- Media Need Help More Than Ever — Like other sectors, media outlets have had layoffs, furloughs, etc., so reporters are busier than ever. They also are working remotely, have limited resources and have more stories to cover. Therefore, it is critical to provide reporters the tools they need to do their job. These include: well-written press releases; fact sheets; bios; professional video and photography.
- Beats are Changing — Many media outlets have had furloughs and layoffs and others are just simply overwhelmed. As a result, beats are changing. Just over the past few weeks, we’ve worked with food reporters covering crime and technology reporters covering yeast shortages. Bottom line: know your outlets and don’t be surprised if a baseball writer wants to discuss your company’s Q1 earnings.
- Spokespersons Need to be Accessible and Ready — Reporters are under more pressure than ever. Spokespersons need to be media trained and ready for telephone and Skype/ZOOM interviews. Interviews should be conducted away from distractions. Notes can be accessible, but key points should not be read.
- Know the News — Of course it’s always important to be informed but never more so than now. The news and markets are changing constantly. It’s critical for spokespersons to be aware of the news in their industry and the news in general.
- Reference COVID-19 and Related Terms Correctly — Unfortunately, we’ve all had to learn more about coronaviruses (COVID-19, in particular) and infectious diseases in general. Media are busier than ever covering the news, so it is critical to use these terms correctly. The following is a link to the AP Styleguide’s section on coronaviruses: https://www.apstylebook.com/topical_most_recent
- Consider Your Angle — Since February, media have been concerned solely with COVID-19 and all things related…except when they aren’t. Media are still looking for every conceivable story angle related to the pandemic, its effect on businesses, families, etc. However, there is a point where their audience needs a break. In these cases, reporters want pitches about almost anything except COVID-19. This can be tricky. In every case – know the reporter; his/her angle and what they are trying to accomplish. Then do your best to help them do their job.
The media world, like the rest of the world, is extremely fluid. Things are changing day by day and hour by hour. Be diligent; be informed; and help media do their job. Attached is Cision’s 2020 State of the Media Report. It’s full of relevant information, stats and trends regarding the impact of COVID-19 and other issues.
: one who provides publicity
: to act as a press agent or promoter for something
The word flack was first used as a noun meaning “publicity agent” during the late 1930s. According to one rumor, the word was coined in tribute to a well-known movie publicist of the time, Gene Flack.