The news media still plays a significant role in shaping public perceptions of law enforcement. However, the 24-hour news cycle and competitive media landscape create challenges for public safety agencies to frame their stories in a positive light. This webinar shares what police departments and related professions can do to work alongside the media for a more balanced reporting of how events unfold within the communities.
This session’s resource speaker is Jeremy Warnick the Director of Communications and Media Relations for the Cambridge Police Department. He facilitates effective information sharing between the media, the agency, and the community. Prior to this, he worked in the communications sector for entities like ESPN and LoJack Corporation.
Points Jeremy covered in his discussion include:
- How valuable media remains to be for communities.
- Challenges in the state of journalism where manpower is lacking, the media environment is overcrowded, and the demand for news is constant, and how PR and PIOs can help bridge the gap.
- How negativity is the biggest challenge public safety agencies have with the media, and the need to proactively engage with media to steer the narrative to a more positive light.
- The value in building media relations through:
- Investing in local news media as they are more trusted by the community and are the ones more immersed with the local community and agency.
- Establishing rapport and constantly engaging with assignment editors who decide on the stories that get to run and who covers what.
- Engaging with media outlets through social media, special events, training, partnership opportunities, and being a resource for them to create a more symbiotic relationship.
- Building relationships with student journalists who may potentially intern or work for media outlets in the future.
- Ways to support the media by:
- Being responsive and accommodating, particularly on weekends, holidays and critical events, to ensure correct and accurate reporting and that the agency’s voice is heard.
- Providing reliable information that is delivered promptly which then helps the community access the right information to make the right decisions and ensure safety.
- Tips to create a solid pitch that will create interest that particulary how (and when) to pitch, do follow-ups, find the right journalist/outlet for the story, and create effective headlines.
- Considerations for long-form content, pitches connected to a trending story, and the nuances and sensitivities of exclusives.
- Examples demonstrating effective PR ideas and successful pitches to media outlets.
- Notable strategies implemented by the Cambridge PD in terms of…
- Utilizing veteran reporters for serious and complex stories
- Leveraging smaller outlets to help break stories that can catch the attention of bigger outlets later on.
- Employing tools to provide better insights on which outlets to best reach out to and work with.
- Testing interest in a content through internal platforms as the agency website and social media.
- The importance of extending help to journalists and the specific areas that PR and agencies can assist media and journalists in.
Questions from the webinar attendees are on:
- Tagging specific media outlets on social media.
- Pitching etiquette when a reporter takes your offer.
- Contacting local cable access stations.
- Instances when the chief needs to be the person in front of the camera.
- Trends in terms of reporters sharing stories on social media to gain traction.
- Prioritizing between local media and major outlets.
- What data journalism at flourish charts are.
Click here to view and register for other upcoming PIO, Social Media, and Communications webinars on the JCH Platform.
Resources and Handouts
- Handout: Effective Police Media Relations
- “Really appreciated the enthusiasm, depth of knowledge, and manner in which the presenter delivered this information. The presentation was enjoyable for a topic that some agencies would normally run away from because of fear. AWESOME!!! I would suggest 15 minutes to be added for questions.” — Vivian
- “VERY GOOD WEBINAR.” — DIANA
- “When to make an exclusive pitch. Thank you! It was great!” — Marguerite
- “The importance of investing in student journalists. This was such an amazing presentation. Great job, Jeremy! A true comms pro.” — Nelly