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The professional school marketing manager needs to be up-to-date with the latest school marketing strategies and resources to successfully implement the school marketing plan. This school marketing blog enables school marketing professionals to engage in blog discussions relating to the school marketing issues of today. The 'School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed)', 2011, by Bryan Foster, forms the basis for most of these blog posts.

How to Deal with a Media Interview Request with Little or No Warning

Saturday, January 14, 2012
The media will sometimes request an interview from you giving little or no warning - and expect you to respond immediately. There are various strategies which can help with this difficult situation. Be well prepared before being interviewed by the media, even if this means delaying it until you become better informed.

When?

The request usually happens when a story is considered 'big' and relatively serious or controversial and the media wants to run with the story on that day or the next. They basically want your instant attention and response, whether you are prepared or not.

This may be when something controversial or of a significant status has occurred. The suggestions on how to deal with this situation are relevant for most circumstances, be these professional, business or community based. The case study below will concentrate on a church or parish scenario.

Examples of media requests would include:

•   a disaster where the school has had major damage, such as from a major storm and fire, or it may sometimes involve arson or other criminal damage, etc
•   a leader, staff member or school employee has been allegedly involved with something illegal
•   a former leader, staff member or school student has done something highly successful, controversial or allegedly illegal
•   the government or local council have or will make a decision that impacts significantly on the school, church or parish, etc.

School Response

Initially in this case you need to advise the media that the school Marketing Manager or school Principal will speak with them shortly.

You have every right to consider your options before speaking.

It is often best to contact the system's Communications and Marketing Manager, if such a role or similar one exists. This manager is usually familiar with best practice for such events. The manager will either become directly involved and speak on behalf of the parish or offer suggestions on the best approach. The Manager may also contact others within or outside the diocese who may be able to offer advice e.g. lawyers, building or insurance advisors / consultants, counsellors, etc.

Offering a "No comment" is often fraught with potential misinterpretation or even worse. The outlet could, in this situation, just take the story according to the information they have, which may not be the truth or whole truth.

Comment truthfully.

You do not need to give all the details but offer what is needed for the media enquiry allowing for legal, privacy and ethical considerations.

Initially this may be just a simple, "Thank you for the enquiry. We will get back to you shortly."

When you are ready contact the media and arrange the interview - be careful not to leave too much time between the media's request and your response.

Being very well prepared before being interviewed by the media is a very necessary requirement for success. If you have not got all the details needed, request a short period of time to gather the necessary information - but do not leave the media waiting too long - otherwise they may go with the information they have, no matter its accuracy or fullness.

TThe 'How to Deal with a Media Interview Request with Little or No Warning' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com


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