Getting media coverage (pun intended) is very easy for naturists. Journalists love to expose us (pun intended, again) because it gets great ratings and lots of clicks. For naturism it provides a lot of great publicity. But many naturists are leery to speak to the media because they’re afraid to look bad. In this episode we consider who/what is the media with media critic Jesse Brown and review strategies for dealing with journalists.
Summary of the Media Relations Advice from the Show
Know your topic and practice – understand (don’t memorize) the answers to typical questions. Use one of the many FAQs that exist. Here is the Bare Oaks one: https://www.bareoaks.ca/first-visit/
Prepare key messages. But do answer their actual question. To ignore a question just to make your statement is frustrating to the journalist and can make you look bad. Just practice smoothly incorporating your key messages into some of your answers. My key messages: #1 – Naturism is a centuries-old philosophy (ie. It’s well established and more than just being naked) #2 – Naturism is family-oriented (therefore not about sex)
Journalists are people too – Their job is to ask the questions the audience wants to know. Don’t take the questions personally. Don’t be defensive. If they like you, they’re more likely to present you favourably. Don’t embarrass them or make fun of them but remember you are the expert, not them. There’s nothing wrong with pointing out errors or calmly disagreeing. Everyone is biased and it’s up to you to provide balance.
Humour is a common way that people deal with discomfort. Don’t take the jokes personally. Have fun with them too and be prepared with your own jokes. Humour can also be a good way to point out the ridiculousness of clothing. e.g. “does your bathing suit keep you dry?”
Don’t say “no comment” (it seems suspicious and it is frustrating for journalists) but don’t speculate or lie either. You don’t always have to know the answer. Acknowledge problems but avoid repeating negatives.
Give brief response when possible as it makes it easier for them to edit and your “sound bite” is more likely to make it into the final cut.
Respond quickly to any media inquiries – timelines and deadlines are tight! Make sure all people in your organization know to pass on inquiries to you and that they understand the urgency.
Take all interview requests – they’re telling the story with or without you. If you participate at least you have a chance to give your side. But yes, there is definitely such a thing as bad press. You’re trying to soften it but you can’t always prevent it.
No matter how much you think you have a good relationship with a journalist, don’t rely on “off the record” discussions. They’re doing a job and it is difficult for them to resist publishing juicy info. At the very least, remember that the journalist must agree to your request to be off the record. You can’t demand it unilaterally.
Links to items mentioned in the show:
* Nak-ed Documentary* NAK-ED Documentary episode* The Unashamed Naturist Cartoons – use coupon code: natlivingshow25 to support the show * Evan Nix,