Workshop to give PR practitioners a clearer picture of how media works

UNDERSTANDING the media and knowing how to work with each medium is a major part of the work of many public relations officers.

Knowing how to produce content for each medium, meeting deadlines, adhering to specific style requirements and appealing to each medium’s audience are also vital.

To offer an insight into this, local media experts will be speaking at a three-day workshop on media relations organised by the Malaysia Press Institute (MPI) from June 10 in Kuala Lumpur.

MPI chief executive officer Datuk Chamil Wariya said public relations practitioners responsible for dealing with the media and media gatekeepers should build and maintain relationships of mutual respect and trust.

He said the relationship, although mutually beneficial, remained adversarial at its core because journalists and public relations practitioners were not in the same business and often did not have the same communication goals.

”To be effective as a go-between and mediator, public relations practitioners must have the confidence of both their organisation and the media.

“Although this is not an easy job, chief executive officers and other line managers are naturally suspicious of the media, just as journalists are by nature questioning and somewhat untrusting of those they put in the spotlight,” he said.

Chamil said there often was a conflict between the two parties owing to a lack of understanding.

He said communication managers often claimed that the press would sensationalise things while journalists would counter that organisations never tell the truth.

“The objective of the workshop is to provide public relations practitioners some guidelines on working with the media and provide both groups an opportunity to work closer.

“Often misunderstanding between the media and an organisation occurs when the latter faces a crisis,” he said, adding that the handling of the media following the disappearance of MH370 was an example.

Chamil said one of the most significant tests for any company comes when it is hit by a major accident or disaster.

“This is because the manner a company handles the situation may influence how it is perceived for years to come.

“A true crisis is a turning point, after which things may change drastically, and if an organisation is not prepared to deal with crisis, it is constantly at risk,” he said.

The workshop will focus on newsroom scenarios covering print, broadcast and online journalism, handling the media in a crisis, dos and don’ts when facing reporters for successful publicity, facing the camera, planning effective media releases, pitching for stories in the mainstream media and being an effective spokesman.

Industry experts who will be speaking at the workshop are Berita Harian group editor Mahfar Ali, Astro Awani group editor-in-chief Suhaimi Sulaiman, Malaysian  Insider chief executive officer and editor Jahabar Sadiq, Media Prima group adviser Datuk Ahmad A Talib, Mae Public Relations counsellor Datin Wan Norhiyati Wan Ibrahim, The Star senior consulting editor T. Selva and The Star senior business editor B.K. Sidhu.

Those interested in participating in the workshop can call 03-2095 2013 (Norhafiza Kamaludin) or email The Star, 27 May 2014.

Source: the star online, 27 May 2014