One often hears the refrain from people that the mainstream media are not interested in their news. In this article MyPR will help you understand why that perception exists and lay out some methods that you could use to overcome the mainstream media’s ‘disinterest’.
Let’s define Mainstream Media:
A media instance – commonly print – that has a large reach and has been in operation for many years. The perception still exists in most people’s minds that any newsworthy event is not ‘news’ until it has appeared in print. Most people define succcesful exposure in the mainstream media as an appearance in a national newspaper, on TV or on a national radio station.
Let’s understand how a newsroom works:
Mainstream media rely on journalists to ‘go and get the story’.
There is a downward pressure on newsrooms in terms of how many journalists they may employ and the overiding consideration that any Editor must entertain is the immediate profitability of his/her newspaper. Every decision that an Editor must make revolves around profitability TODAY.
As there is a downward pressure on journalist headcount newsrooms find themselves under pressure to pay less which means that they get less experienced journalists and less all-round journalists. This leads to an emphasis on only covering stories that will appeal to the widest range of readers. For example, a sports journalist will therefore concerntrate only on the mainstream sports like Soccer, Rugby and Cricket and the lesser know sports like Sailing, Bowls, Netball etc. will not ever have a specialist journalist covering them.
A newsdesk will assign stories to the journalst to cover and those decisions are made based on wide and popular appeal in order to sell as many newspapers as possible.
Fewer journalists means a narrower emphasis on news, smaller newspapers and less money to spend on invetigative journalism.
Today’s journalist also has a number of ‘layers’ between him/her and final publication – a sub-editor, a copy editor, a photo editor and editor all influence what the journalist’s article will finally look like.
Let’s return to the example of the sport journalist who will be heavily influenced by popular appeal. Take the sport of sailing as an example. It is classified as a Cinderella sport as it has less than 10 000 registered participants across South Africa. A municipality like Nelson Mandela Bay in turn will have around 350 registered participants. The newsdesk will have access to these numbers which will heavily influence the decision on whether to use scarce resources on an article about sailing or rather on an article about Rugby – you know the answer to that question!
Let’s offer two solutions:
1. The easy solution is to use a Public Relations professional along with a professional photographer to develop and distribute press releases for your Sport/Business/Event.
Why does the above work? Because most PR Professionals have a background in journalism, know how to craft a story that ticks all the boxes as a newsworthy event, know which journalists to target and have developed a relationship over many years with the right people. This does not mean that you can get a PR Professional to hawk any old story and get it published, rather your PR Professional will advise you on, write and distribute the type of stories that do get published.
Solution number one will cost you anywhere from R1000.00 to R12 000.00 per story.
Have a look at MyPR’s recommended PR Professionals.
2. The hard solution is to develop the skills yourself.
Nowadays we all have access to fairly decent cameras, can follow instructions from the internet and through networking will come into contact with journalists. You will have to have a fairly good grasp of the (in this case) English language and an accurate idea of just what to write and in what style in order to get published.
If you are determined to go the self service route then Submit Your Article here – use the featured article option for a BIGGER reach and read the guidleines for some valuable tips before submitting.
A well crafted press release delivered to the correct journalist is highly likely to get some coverage. Most journalists are literally bombarded daily with press releases so they have a highly tuned bullshitometer. The worst thing that anyone can do is send a press release out that is a thinly disguised ADVERT – that sin will take a long long time to be erased.