24-hour news networks: Boon or bane?

Among the best and worst things to happen to a PR professional is the round-the-clock news cycle. A media trainer in the U.K. offers some advice for handling this beast.

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On the plus side, rolling news stations have a voracious appetite for interviewees, so much so it could elicit a new collective noun—a “Skydom,” “Fox hunt,” or “Jazeera” of spokespeople. The news stations need spokespeople just to keep their programs afloat. There aren’t enough news events to sustain the airtime.

For that reason, if there’s a noncontroversial story making the rounds and it concerns your company or industry, these news stations offer a great opportunity to get one of your executives or clients in front of the camera to discuss it.

If the exec or client performs well and impresses the station, the producers will remember that person. His or her name will go into the newsroom data bank. More important, the person will go down in the collective memory of the journalists. The next time a similar story turns up, a producer will instruct the “guest getter” in the newsroom to get the same person back, rather than search for a new face from a different company.

That’s how you build up a profile for your executives and your organization. It’s why you see the same old faces on TV so often, whatever the topic. As a result, having a polished group of executives and spokespeople—with all the required skills to handle live news interviews—is a must.

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