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Dealing With Media

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For at least three decades I have carried a camera or camcorder with me everywhere I travel, be it at work or doing something personal, I am what media calls a stringer.




As such I have had a lot of interaction with those in the news media, when I first became involved with the TEA-Party under the original meaning Taxed Enough Already, I constantly heard complaints of never being to be able to get fair treatment from media. So I did a few things I formed my own independent media channel, Channel1Images.com, I volunteered to be the media contact for the first group that formed in Ft Lauderdale and purchased the best camcorder I could afford, a JVC GY-HD200.




The TP consisted of a group of good and well intentioned people, but fell apart due to internal politics, bickering and infiltration by the GOP, who wanted to use the organization for political purposes.


That stated over the years I have learned a lot about politics, people and dealing with media.


So what follows is some of my advice to anyone who runs a politically based group.


First and foremost never become hostile with media, even if you know they want to stab you in the back,


Appoint a single member of your group, to be the groups Public Information Officer (PIO), issue a standing  order that no one in the group shall communicate with media at any event, and should defer any non-event questions to the groups PIO.


Your PIO should be comfortable speaking on camera, must be able to speak clearly, never use acronyms and speak in short tight sentences, using a sentence structure that is difficult to take out of context, if you begin or end a sentence that could have a negative tone to it, that could be the lead-in of the package that gets aired and not much else, if you must use a name always use proper names and titles, it is not Trump or Biden, it is President Trump and former Vice President Biden.


The PIO needs to find out who works the news/assignment desk of every media outlet in your area, and should send press release's to that person two weeks in advance and another one day in advance of any public event you may be having, the PIO should include valid contacts both phone and e-mail, by informing media of your event, it indicates you have nothing to hide and welcome the publicity.


Always close all press releases with what your organization is about and I strongly recommend  you avoid using the term Militia in your press release, 


Again be friendly, if a reporter with a camera or cameraman is spotted, the first member they come in contact with should offer them something nice, like sealed bottles of cold water and then escort them quickly to the PIO.


During interviews have the remainder of the group, excepting the groups cameraman, should keep a good distance from the interview.


Why should you have a cameraman with a camcorder, I discovered this working Allen West's campaign for Congress, when he would do interviews I or my son would wire him with a small lav like a Shure SM93 and would set up on a angle shooting from just about the same angle as the media guy did, there is something about media knowing you have an un-edited clip of the interview in the can, that raise's the ethical level of the post editing, news is a very competitive business and they will eat their own, if they do a hack job on you, push a copy of your clip and a copy of the as aired clip to a right leaning outlet like OAN, reporters and their producers hate being exposed as less than ethical.  


It is also handy for your PIO to be able to see him or herself on camera and then take critique from members of your group.


Someone in the group should be able to record the as-aired interview and not by aiming a camera at a TV screen, someone in the group needs to purchase a PC based tuner card or a standalone tuner that can be attached to a recorder.


All of this applies to radio as well, you can roll video or just use a PDR such as a Tascam DR-100.


If they demand you turn your camera or recorder off for Copyright reasons, leave it running and deny the interview, case closed, there is no such Copyright rule, you have the right to record anyone, who you are speaking with.


It would be a good idea for your PIO to study reporting techniques, a good source of such is Poynter News University, they have numerous low and no cost courses that can be taken on-line.



If you have a little extra cash on hand buy your PIO or cameraman a membership in the NPPA, they have been known to run articles about less than ethical journalism and have excellent articles about news gathering.




And don't be shy about granting interviews to foreign media, one of the most ethical and honest reporters I ever worked with is Andy Gallacher with Al Jazeera I was covering a TPFTL event and he and his cameraman showed up, one of the members of the event seeing the camcorder walked over to him and began totally berating him calling him a ultra-liberal biased a-hole, she didn't know the guy from jack, I had a couple of other members grab the lady and take her far away, then I introduced myself to Gallacher, thoroughly apologized for her very rude behavior and answered all of his questions, I then had some members stage with their signs further back from the road and I stayed behind his cameraman watching for traffic while he captured B-roll to fill in the package.


The package aired and I fully expected it to open with the crazy woman, they did record her, but they didn't use it, all that was broadcast was my interview with some B-roll of the protest mixed in as filler.  


Anyway lets call that a wrap and if anyone has any questions just ask and I will do my best to answer them.






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