Media Relations 101 – What To Do When A Reporter Calls

With summer’s harsh heat waves still upon us, we want to make sure everyone is staying hydrated and healthy- including our pets. Our client, North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA) remains an active spokesperson and supporter of our pets’ well-being. We have established their platform as a go-to for any animal-related inquiries. This can lead to questions and requests from reporters when pets’ safety is threatened by the heat, or other inclement weather. Every time the media calls, I’m reminded of the successful practices we have in place to help clients best respond to reporters. At their core, these practices are really the foundation of media relations and can be applied to a variety of scenarios.

Here are my top three media relations practices you should have in place before a reporter calls:

  • Media training – Not everyone is a natural spokesperson, and even the most articulate professional can fumble when they’re in front of a camera or microphone. A media training program can help by identifying your best spokespeople and polishing their skills, while teaching best practices to other employees who may face the media.


  • On-site management – When media arrives on site, make sure it’s someone’s job to welcome them – never be hostile toward the media! – and direct them to a designated area where they can report or, in the case of TV reporters, set up a live shoot.


  • Talking points – This tip goes hand-in-hand with the first. In a nutshell, a set of prepared talking points will give your spokesperson the confidence to speak to the issue at hand. Even the best spokesperson can get tripped up by trying to think of the right words on the fly, and talking points serve as a useful guide. Talking points should not, however, be confused for a script. They’re best used as a tool to review before an interview – not lines that should be memorized. Otherwise, an interview may come off stilted and unnatural.


Have questions or want to share any tips of your own? We would love to hear from you! Contact BAERING to find out more about our media relations practices.