PRCAI with the help of PR firms and PR WhatsApp groups has formulated an advisory on how to engage with the media during these unprecedented times.
The advisory says that one story area is dominating, quite naturally, which is Corona.
Status of function media organisations
Though media organisations have been considered as essential services in cities such as Mumbai, the printing of newspapers has stopped as Maharashtra has the highest number of COVID-19 positive cases. The Newspapers’ Vendors’ Association of Mumbai has published a circular stating that they have stopped the distribution of the newspapers in the city until further notice.
In the southern cities (Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi), most of the media houses are working with limited staff at offices and minimize fieldworks. Editors and News Desk Teams are going to the office on a rotation basis.
In Delhi NCR regions delivery of newspapers has restarted this week. Though in some areas of Delhi NCR, Resident Welfare Associations' have restricted entry of vendors or outsiders at their premises.
Most the magazines will delay their print issue and some of them will suspend their current issue like Outlook Traveller, Outlook (Hindi), etc.
Most of the TV channels are working with limited staff in rotation.
Advisory on how to engage with journalists
As per the feedback received by PRCAI, "In these tough times the journalists are also hard-pressed to perform their duties under challenging circumstances and therefore have little time to debate or discuss things with PR professionals. Some of the
inputs received from the journalists across newswires and newspapers and especially those who are thoroughly occupied in the Health beat is that please try to call as little as possible."
Some media houses have imposed even tighter deadlines of 6 PM.
PRCAI advises the following while dealing with journalists:
1. Don’t call to pitch stories for the clients or on behalf of experts.
2. Information sharing via press note are welcome but a commitment to print is limited
3. CSR is not something the media is keen on unless it’s about funding by corporates and how they are helping the community and country during this pandemic
4. Media is keen to know what brands are doing innovatively for their employees and end customers to ensure continuity of operations
5. Not interested in brand/product launches
6. National news not of relevance to the local media
7. The best format is to text on WhatsApp or SMS and then the same could be followed up by a mail which is brief and crisp. The journalists are saying that they will certainly reply to only those texts in which they feel there is some content for them or is newsworthy. If you don’t get a reply to the text, try once again but again if there is silence on the other side then please sit back as the story does not interest the journalist.
8. All stories must have a Coronavirus angle to be considered.
Note: Information based on dipstick done by Weber Shandwick, MSL Group, Avian WE
and crowdsourced data from various PR firms and groups like IPRF, OneSource,
Media Insights, ICG, The Commune, Media Connect, Media Movements, PR
Warriors, PR Exchange and other groups compiled by PRCAI.