Media Relations involves working with media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization's mission, policies and practices in a positive, consistent and credible manner. Typically, this means coordinating directly with the people responsible for producing the news and features in the mass media.' The goal of media relations is to maximize positive coverage in the mass media without paying for it directly through advertising.
Many people use the terms public relations and media relations interchangeably; however, doing so is incorrect. Media relations refer to the relationship that a company or organization develops with journalists, while public relations extend that relationship beyond the media to the general public.
It is possible for communication between the media and the organization to be initiated by either side, however dealing with the media presents unique challenges in that the news media cannot be controlled -- they have ultimate control over whether stories pitched to them are of interest to their audiences. Because of this fact, ongoing relationships between an organization and the news media are vital. One way to ensure a positive working relationship with media personnel is to become deeply familiar with their "beats" and areas of interests. Media relations and public relations practitioners should read as many magazines, journals, newspapers, and blogs as possible, as they relate to one's practice.
Organizations often compile what is known as a media list, or a list of possible media outlets who may be interested in an organization's information. The media can consist of thousands of magazine publications, newspapers, and TV and radio stations. Therefore, when a "newsworthy" event occurs in an organization, a media list can assist in determining which media outlet may be the most interested in a particular story.
Working with the media on behalf of an organization allows for awareness of the entity to be raised as well as the ability to create an impact with a chosen audience. It allows access to both large and small target audiences and helps in building public support and mobilizing public opinion for an organization. This is all done through a wide range of media and can be used to encourage two-way communication.
Possible reasons an organization may reach out to the media are:
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