The Trouble with Press Conferences

The Trouble with Press Conferences

By Anthony Mora

Copyright© Anthony Mora 2006

It's important to know when to hold a press conference. If you think that a press conference is the way to go, nine times out of ten you're going to be wrong. Although there are many types of press conferences, they are primarily utilized to give the media up-to-the-minute information on breaking news stories, or when a celebrity or well-known person is addressing a topical issue. Countless other types of press conferences are announced, but few receive any coverage. Breaking news stories, politically-oriented stories and press conferences often do go together. Those are naturals.

But keep in mind, what you consider to be a breaking or urgent story, may be viewed differently by the media. When you are asking the media to be at a certain place at a certain time to cover your story, the odds are against you. Your story then is being set on a very specific timeline and is being forced to compete with every other potential story in your city, the nation and the world. If there is another story that the media considers more urgent, or more ratings-worthy that breaks at the same time - you're out of luck.

We have held some very successful press conferences. But we've also held some conferences that were passed-over because of a car chase in progress, a breaking murder story or a celebrity scandal. There was one case where two TV crews had arrived and were setting up to cover press conference we had scheduled, suddenly each producer was paged. Next thing I knew they were packing their gear and heading out the door. A fire had broken out at a local refinery and they were on their way to cover it. Needless to say, that was the end of that particular press conference.

In my experience most press conferences are often ineffective, because the story or pitch usually does not warrant a press conference. Try to think like the media, play devil's advocate. If you were a harried producer or editor, and were pitched a story on your proposed press conference would it be of interest to you? If the answer is no, forget going the press conference route. Reframe the hook and pitch it as a different type of story. Give the media and your story options

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Anthony Mora Communications, Inc. is a Los Angeles-based public relations firm that focuses in the areas of media relations, image development and media training. Anthony Mora Communications regularly places clients in major media outlets, including Time, Newsweek, Oprah, the New York Times, CNN, the Today Show, the Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other media outlets. Through media placement, you are not presented within the context of an ad or commercial. You're not positioned as an ad bu...

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