What to do when you misjudge press attendance

Developing news can bring a bevy of hungry journalists to your media event—or send them off chasing another news story. Here’s how to prepare for the unexpected.

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Despite this being an increasingly online world, there is still a role for the traditional news conference.

Journalists, and by extension, the public, still want to hear directly from the source on important topics, decisions, and actions which impact their lives.

Until you’ve lived through situations where everyone (including cable news on live remote) and no one (also a nightmare) attends, it’s hard to anticipate what to do in these extremes, especially if your planned event is a local, community-based announcement.

Here’s how to respond to the unpredictability of media relations:

Scenario 1: You plan for a few reporters, when dozens show up.

Several years ago, our client wanted to announce a new community-based initiative to help encourage diversity and inclusion. We developed a program based on nurturing mutual respect for people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions.

To roll this program out, the client agreed to a media launch, and we invited a few politicians who also supported these ideals to lend their voice to the announcement. In our city, there are 15 main media outlets, and on any ordinary day, around 10 reporters will attend.

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