Managing A Press Conference

Dave Scelba - 03/11/2014

For the Boys and Girls Club press conference featuring Victor Cruz the well-known wide receiver of the NY Giants football franchise we had a specific agenda to follow. And while our primary goal was to get at least 50% of the reporters from each media category to the event we also had a secondary objective. Before, during and after the press conference we wanted to secure as many one-on-one individual press meetings as possible. We wanted to create a competitive environment that we knew would extend and generate an increase our overall media coverage.

So just prior to Victor’s arrival, we approached each of the broadcast reporters and their videographers separately and asked if they would like to spend two to four minutes interviewing Victor alone. Obviously we knew they would all jump at the opportunity, and we quickly assessed the physical landscape of the two major areas the press conference was being conducted and instructed each reporter to stand with their video crews at a specific location. We explained that we would bring Victor to each of them for a one-to-one interview as we moved him through the crowds from one point of the press conference in the gymnasium to the second location of the event in the aquatic and pool area. Every broadcast reporter was given an opportunity to have direct access to Victor Cruz as well as other key spokespersons for the press conference.

Using a one-to-one exclusivity strategy gives the journalists and reporters a feeling of being important or special and provides them a format to put their own personal touch on the event. This simple feel good gesture has proven time and time again to extend and increase the overall media coverage of a press conference. It also helps to provide that entertainment value even when moving from one area to another. The spokesperson gets an opportunity to look the reporter straight in the eye and can determine if they’ve made a connection and if they are truly educating the journalist or reporter. And engagement is guaranteed. Reporters are very competitive and typically will not ask key questions in front of their fellow journalists. Integrating individual press meetings into the scheduled press conference will optimize the overall media coverage and ingratiate you with the press.

The Team:

  • It takes a team to properly coordinate and manage a press conference. The Director/Manager should remain with the moderator, speakers and presenters and oversee all of the other team members.
  • Depending on the size of the press conference there should be at least two Receptionists assigned to greet the media and guests and check them in with a name tag, press packet and to direct them to their seat or reserved media area. Once the press conference begins these team members should prepare the refreshment tables and area
  • At least one to two Media Coordinators should be assigned to assist and attend to the reporters needs and help them with anything such as the location of electric outlets, additional information, etc.

If Q&A is appropriate the Director/Manger will coordinate the process and maintain an organized and orderly sequence of questions from the various journalist and reporters.

Following the formal press conference the moderator should invite the guests and media to the refreshments area.

It’s very important to stick to the time lines on the agenda, but don’t let the agenda dictate the entire event. Find opportunities before, during and after the press conference to give the reporters and journalist short 1 – 3 minute interviews on a one-on-one basis with the feature speakers and presenters. Those individual interviews will increase and optimize the overall media coverage and set the stage for a media competition.

Download our e-book Conducting a Successful Press Conference and get tips on: establishing the purpose for a press conference; creating a compelling story; developing a logistics plan managing and coordinating journalist and reporters at the press conference and good post event follow-up.

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