Consider all factors before holding a news conference

by Tom Unger on July 5, 2012

in Media Relations

There are a few good reasons to hold a news conference, and many reasons not to. Let me explain.

It’s my belief that you should only hold a news conference when you have something of major important and/or news significance to announce. The media might come to your first news conference but if you wind up wasting their time by announcing a minor story that could have been simply written up in a press release and emailed, then they won’t come to your next one.

A news conference requires a lot of preparation and practice. When you hold a news conference, your organization is front and center in the spotlight, so you don’t want to make any mistakes.

For instance, you wouldn’t want to repeat what happened recently in Illinois, where a local fire chief held a news conference to talk about the dangers of fireworks. According to the Chicago Tribune, a fireworks cannister tipped over and shot fireworks into the crowd, slightly injuring the foot of the assistant executive director of the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance. They literally shot themselves in the foot (or I should say, her foot)!

One advantage of holding a news conference is that you’re able to reach a lot of media at the same time with your news. For instance, the large hospital in L.A. where I once worked would hold a news conference when it had a major medical breakthrough to announce. Given the size of the media market in L.A., we would have up to 40 or more reporters attend such a news conference. Imagine how much time it would take to hold 40 individual interviews.

If you hold a news conference, think about the staging of it and the visuals. Do you have charts or artist’s renderings or some other type of graphic display that can add to your announcement? For example, when I organized a news conference to announce a major employment expansion, I created a bar chart that showed the company’s growth over the years.

If you are thinking about holding a news conference, make sure first that your news is important, then make sure you practice the delivery, think about visuals, and, above all, avoid shooting fireworks at anyone!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

George Styro October 12, 2012 at 5:18 am

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