Monday, March 11, 2024


2024-03-11 14:21:17

As a PR professional who has worked in military, multinational organization & corporate settings for 25 years, I can tell you there are many reasons why it’s advisable to start news conferences with prepared statements. These statements have been reviewed to ensure the information is accurate, safe to share, strikes the right tone & delivers the right messages. The Q&A session that follows is where spokespersons can elaborate & amplify on what they’ve already said & answer questions on other subjects. Journalists can piece together excellent stories by combining material from both portions of these media events.

2024-03-11 09:26:19

I have noticed that reporters on the news almost always have their cell phone in their hand, which they look at time to time and read from. To me it looks like a crutch or a nervous dependency, like their safety blanket they can't possibly be without to deliver the news! It's like they are afraid to try to remember their 30 second to 2 minute news clip they are presenting so they need the warm comfort of knowing they can look at their phone if they, all of the sudden, forget what they were talking about. I have always thought that cell phones are making people less social and "dumber". I know I am! Lol

2024-03-11 09:48:33

Great point. I have thought the same thing. Normally the reporter's "script" is on the phone, or at least bullet points to read from when doing a live report They usually start reading after the clip has gone to "B roll" which is background footage. i would instruct every reporter to keep their phone out of sight and only bring it up when they start reading after the B roll has started. It really is the same as a notepad used to be. Out of sight, out of mind.

2024-03-11 09:20:49

Good column/points, Grant. I agree it's bad journalism but it's not limited to TV news only. Radio news (what's left of it) does the same. You hear the same prepped statements you see on TV. Newspapers, too, often pull quotes from RCMP etc. news releases. You can't blame the reporters. Calls to RCMP, EPS are rarely returned. Still, reporters need to try to get more than the statement/news release quote. To me, this goes beyond the reporter ranks. Assignment people/editors/news directors need to push and prod the reporters to take the next step. Unfortunately, these people...the gatekeepers...are also stretched. Many news directors these days are also station managers, as well. They can't only focus on news. One solution, perhaps, is to be more selective with assignments. Don't cover every government news conference (which are often reannouncements) unless you can send a reporter. AND...someone has to ensure the reporter is prepared and informed enough to ask the relevant questions. Then, they need the time to go and chase reaction to the announcement. I think, these days, news consumers, especially young people, want context. They want to know what this gov't announcement means and how it impacts them. A statement is only part of the story but it's often the only part of the story the government/others want to communicate.

2024-03-11 09:50:33

Excellent points! I didn't want to pick on radio because they usually only use what is given to them by their TV parent. You make some great observations.