What is Media Relations?

27 01 2012

I realize that I have begun talking about media relations, but haven’t given a clear definition of what it is. Although most people think it’s the same thing as public relations, it’s actually a bit different. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition.

Media relations involves working with various media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization’s mission, policies and practices in a positive, consistent and credible manner. Typically, this means coordinating directly with the people responsible for producing the news and features in the mass media. The goal of media relations is to maximize positive coverage in the mass media without paying for it directly through advertising.

Many people use the terms public relations and media relations interchangeably; however, doing so is incorrect.[citation needed] Media relations refer to the relationship that a company or organization develops with journalists, while public relations extend that relationship beyond the media to the general public.

Dealing with the media presents unique challenges in that the news media cannot be controlled — they have ultimate control over whether stories pitched to them are of interest to their audiences. Because of this, ongoing relationships between an organization and the news media is vital. One way to ensure a positive working relationship with media personnel is to become deeply familiar with their “beats” and areas of interests. Media relations and public relations practitioners should read as many magazines, journals, newspapers, and blogs as possible, as they relate to one’s practice.

Working with the media on the behalf of an organization allows for awareness of the entity to be raised as well as the ability to create an impact with a chosen audience. It allows access to both large and small target audiences and helps build public support and mobilizing public opinion for an organization.[1] This is all done through a wide range of media and can be used to encourage two-way communication.

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