logo5A survey about 30 years ago proved what we had suspected — more Long Islanders thought Ed Koch was the mayor of Long Island and that the only things happening on Long Island were murders or arson.  That led some community and business leaders on Long Island to found an organization to lobby for more coverage for Long Island, complete with news bureaus from the major TV and radio stations assigned to cover Long Island news.

“Fair coverage,” especially by New York City media outlets with tabloid mindsets, became their mantra.

Like other advocacy groups, the Fair Media Council’s role has evolved, and today it also helps ensure that individual organizations – from Long Island’s largest businesses to our smallest community non-profits – have access to media and the tools to effectively tell their stories through news outlets that cover Long Island.

Do you need to connect with media so you can better represent your organization?  Come to a panel I’m moderating at the Fair Media Council’s Connection Day on October 27, “Establishing Media Relationships,” which will include reporters and producers from WCBS 880 radio, WNBC-TV, 1010 WINS, WPIX, My9TV, WRNN and Interchange NY.  It’s going to be a chance for public relations practitioners to get up front and personal with these media professionals and hear their opinions on the best ways to build trust and relationships. (Right now, I’m putting together questions for the panel – so, if you’ve got any you’d like me to include, e-mail me at: kheaviside@epoch5.com.)

I won’t say I have all the answers, but I can tell you there are some unmistakable reasons why one business or CEO seems to get the lion’s share of media coverage. And no, it’s not because they send out the most press releases or pitches or have the biggest corporate communications staff.

Getting to the point where a reporter or producer not only knows your name but knows you’ll make yourself available at a moment’s notice, trusts your expertise and information and knows you’ll enhance the story, is not reached by accident.  It’s why some media sources seem to be on the speed-dial of reporters, editors and producers.

If you’re trying to become an expert source for the media, it’s just as important to tell them when you don’t know something as well as when you do.  Of course, when you know something but just can’t tell them, it gets trickier, but that’s the subject of another post.

It’s always surprising to me that so many public relations people willingly blow their credibility with media to get a short-term “win” by getting media coverage for a story that is more fiction than fact. It can haunt a PR person for years, especially when issues management situations arise that can expose a lack of credibility with the media.

Connection Day is being held at the Crest Hollow on October 27th and the panel “Establishing Media Relationships” will be from 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  Hope to see you there!