Inside the Media
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To order Winning with the News Media:
Below are excerpts taken from several sections of
Winning with the News Media
Copyright © 2005, 2001, 1999, 1996
By Clarence Jones
What is public relations? It can be a lot of things, but the most difficult and powerful element in public relations is usually news media relations.
News media relations is entirely different from other parts of public relations campaigns.
Advertising, special events, speakers bureaus, and public meetings can all be part of a PR effort. But in the end, what is said about you and your issue in newspapers, television, radio, magazines and the Internet will reach more people, and have a greater impact, than all other PR elements combined.
Special events and public meetings often have very little effect if the media don't cover them.
In its simplest definition, I like to tell my seminar groups, public relations is two things. You need to tell the world:
It seems so simple. But the simplest things are often the most complex.
If you're skillful, the answer to the major questions reporters ask will be contained in one sentence, without taking a breath. Most people know too much. They tell the reporter too much. The most powerful messages are brief and incredibly eloquent.
The Health Care Debate
When Bill Clinton became president in early 1993, he set out to reform America's healthcare system. The media's coverage of the issue and the debate in forums of every kind was massive.
In the end, the public still knew very little about the President's proposal -- or, for that matter, a number of other alternatives proposed in Congress.
The entire campaign was derailed by a series of brilliant television commercials in which a couple (Harry and Louise) talked about Clinton's plan to reform health care. The commercials were sponsored by insurance companies who were desperate to keep the status quo.
The commercials ended with a simple phrase and a headshake. Either Harry or Louise would say:
The commercials were so successful, they coined a new verb in American English, as in: "You've been Harry & Louised."
That kind of sound bite can override everything else. The most successful sound bites stir the most powerful human reactions:
Learning how to design quotes for print, and sound bites for broadcasting, is like learning to speak another language. Winning with the News Media is America's leading textbook for learning media language.