Tag Archives: public relations

Reporters are from Pluto – We are from Saturn

There is a reason we call it media relations. A successful media relations strategy must focus on developing and maintaining quality relationships with members of the media. This might seem simple, but in all reality it is as complex as any other human relationship we engage in.


The relationships in our lives that hold meaning for us often are somewhat difficult to maintain. I often like to say, “it isn’t all Ferris wheels and cotton candy!” Think of the relationships in your life – relationships with friends, family, romantic partners, co-workers, etc. What makes those relationships work?

You might find some of the following five qualities:

Good communication. Staying in touch and sharing parts of your life with the other person will help to prevent misunderstandings and unwanted distance in the relationship. Making your needs and desires known is critical, as is allowing the other person to do the same.

Attentive listening. It’s easy to forget, but communication is a two-way street. Listen effectively to what the other person is saying as they express their own needs and desires.

An understanding of where the other person is coming from. If you don’t understand, then start asking questions and listen to the answers. Read stories the reporter has written, listen to or watch their broadcasts to get a feel for their style.

An ability to admit that you are wrong, or don’t have all the answers.

A sense of humor. Many of us take life and ourselves way too seriously. A laugh can go a long way.

Respect for the other person. Pretty simple concept, but sometimes difficult to remember.

All of these apply to your working relationships with members of the media as well. Far too often, we fail to effectively communicate with reporters except for the occasional generic press release. We don’t always listen carefully to what a reporter wants and needs for the story to be successful. Sometimes we find it difficult to admit that we don’t know something. And, we often fail to respect the reporter as the professional that they are.

So, the next time you are about to begin or try to strengthen a relationship with a reporter, keep all of this in mind. Put yourself in their seat, and remember that they have a job to do just like you do. And don’t forget to share some humor along the way as well – the life of a reporter is very stressful. Any chance to laugh is welcome.


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Salvation Army Scammers to Serve Time

Two Houston brothers who set up a fraudulent website following the Katrina disaster will each serve more than eight years in jail for their crimes. The federal government is cracking down on scammers such as the Stevens brothers, according to the Nonprofit Times:

Two Houston brothers each were sentenced last month to more than eight years for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft as a result of fraudulently operating a Web site that claimed to raise money on behalf of the Salvation Army for Hurricane Katrina victims. The fraudulent Web site, prosecutors said, collected more than $48,000 before anyone caught on.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner sentenced Steven Stephens, 24, to serve a total of 111 months. Bartholomew Stephens, 27, will serve a total of 105 months. A jury convicted the pair after a four-day trial in June.

The Stephens case is just one example of the more than 2,400 Katrina relief Web sites believed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to be fraudulent.

More recently, as Southern California burned this past October criminals began setting up bogus Web sites and soliciting donations. According to the FBI, in the days following the California wildfires fraudsters flooded the Internet with fake charity sites.

Technology has certainly advanced fund development for nonprofits. Unfortunately, it continues to advance fraud and other criminal activity as well. It isn’t possible to anticipate each and every scam before it happens. However, being aware of these trends and keeping a watchful eye out for such scams can help.

Having policies and procedures in place regarding online giving and your organization’s web presence activities will help. Making sure that your domain name doesn’t expire will prevent scammers from picking it up and using it against you.

For more information, go to protectyour.org.

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Filed under Nonprofit Industry News, Uncategorized