By Lauren Biertempfel
In our public relations classes at Kent, we often hear about our professional role interacting with the media. As professionals in the PR industry, we must learn how to successfully communicate with media reporters to help tell the client’s story the right way.
Media Relations and Publicity is a 15-week course that teaches PR students how to build and maintain relationships with reporters in a variety of ways. The course is taught by Kent State University Spokesperson Eric Mansfield, who uses his professional experience, both as a reporter and a PR professional, to teach students interactively.
The course is geared toward helping students create a portfolio, which they can use in interviews and while networking with professionals. Some of the work includes writing press releases, preparing media monitoring reports and writing story pitches to reporters.
For media monitoring reports, students choose a virtual client and they monitor the team’s online footprint. Sources that students follow include newspapers, social media and blogs.
Students also choose a real client, who is the main focus of pitch packages. In these packages, students write a cover letter explaining their objectives and goals. They then typically include a piece that will be sent to a reporter and an example of an email pitching the piece to the reporter.
The end objective is to learn how to interact with reporters and to have sample pieces for the student’s portfolio.
Media Relations is a fun course and students often have the freedom to talk about good and bad PR in the media. My tips for surviving Media Relations are: