Kaplan: When your clients become reporters
Kaplan: When your clients become reporters

When I was a television reporter I saw the way the industry was changing and decided I wanted to go to the “dark side” of public relations. Not because I wanted to be behind the scenes, but because I realized I could use my skills to help clients and build brands. Now more than ever, my skills are t.....

When I was a television reporter I saw the way the industry was changing and decided I wanted to go to the “dark side” of public relations. Not because I wanted to be behind the scenes, but because I realized I could use my skills to help clients and build brands. Now more than ever, my skills are truly coming into play.

Don’t be surprised if the next time you host an event or book a television interview, the “television crew” showing up to do a live shot turns out to be a videographer with a backpack camera. Why should you expect that? Because a backpack camera is the new go-to reporting tool for a lot of stations strapped for cash or looking for an easier way to get stories on the air immediately.

Essentially a videographer will show up, hand an earpiece and a microphone to the interview subject, and then there will be anchors on the earpiece back at the studio. They will ask the interviewee questions and might even ask the subject to walk them through the location while the segment is live on the air. Often, there is a horrible delay on the earpiece, forcing the interview subject to then become the reporter — something most clients are not prepared to do.

This means we, as publicists, need to be more on top of our game than ever before. We need to not only media train and keep our clients on message but also teach them to control the message and essentially deliver the points with enthusiasm, the way a reporter would.  This can be positive because you can control the message and the story. However, it could be a recipe for disaster, like a small-market reporter doing her first live shot.

This is definitely something to think about as more and more large-market TV stations are turning to backpack cameras. Perhaps it’s even a reason to make a former reporter a spokesperson for your company. Reporters know how to react to high-intensity situations and can think quickly on their feet.  They also know how to present information to the average news viewer and can present information in an interesting way while using the camera to their advantage.

Marketing to the consumer is constantly evolving, and backpack reporting is just one more way news organizations are trying to keep up with technology while staying budget-friendly.  This means brands need to be more cognizant of the changes in the media and always prepared to speak with the press — always as news sources, but sometimes as reporters.

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