Fallston Group

Building Strengthening & Defending reputations
Building Strengthening & Defending reputations

Media Relations 101

Fallston Group partnered with SLM Multimedia to hold its 3rd Media Boot Camp for Executives on Oct. 3 at Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore. The event was a huge success as eight executives across various industries interacted with newscasters, reporters and media relations experts to build leadership communication, messaging and presentation skills.

Highlights of the day included a tour of WJZ-TV along with on-air talent meet and greet; on-camera media interviews; media coaching and round-table discussions; tactical interview critiques; and a catered lunch buffet. Expert panelists included members of the news media from WJZ-TV, WBFF FOX45, WMAR-TV2 and WBAL-TV 11, as well as professionals from the Secret Service, AAA Mid-Atlantic and the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention.

It is imperative that executives and professionals maintain the ability to represent their brand appropriately in the court of public opinion and in front of their key stakeholder bases. Whether you are telling a positive, informative story about your organization or defending the company’s stance and reputation in a crisis situation, leaders must understand how to interact and speak with the media in order to convey a desired message.

One of the major benefits of Media Boot Camp is the opportunity to learn the perspective of news professionals directly from members of the media. While many view the media as their adversaries, the media can actually be your organization’s ally when it comes to telling a story or delivering a message. It is often assumed that the media wishes to only report negative stories. In reality, journalists’ main concern and responsibility lies solely in discovering and reporting the truth in order to maintain a well-informed public.

A key takeaway to remember as a leader of any organization is to recognize and embrace your power to tell the story you want told. The media will report only the facts, but if you are ill-prepared for an interview, it will affect how the desired message is portrayed to the public. To ensure the company brand, image and reputation is upheld in media stories, it is vital that you develop and articulate your message points. When interacting with the media, act as the expert on your subject matter, be clear and concise, be passionate, stay focused, routinely connect every response back to your core message, and anticipate audience reactions.

As the current Communications Director for the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention with more than 20 years of professional experience in public information in Baltimore, Media Boot Camp expert panelist, Bill Toohey understands the significance of managing messages in order to improve relationships with stakeholders and the media. He offers the following straightforward fundamentals to those who must act as communicators and representatives for their organization.


 Bill’s Basics

  1. Always work to be thought of as a resource, not a target.
  2. Talk for 30 seconds and shut-up.
  3. Tough questions are not the problem, stupid ones are.
  4. Acknowledge the problem; stress the response.
  5. If you don’t say it, they can’t print it…usually.
  6. Better to eat a little crow now, than choke on a lot of lies later.
  7. Once you know they’ve got it, make sure they’ve got it right.
  8. Successful crisis management depends on three basic rules: be there, be there, and be there.
  9. We’re not wrong – you just don’t know the whole story.

These principles, along with further media relations advice, topics and ideas can be found on Bill Toohey’s blog.


For more information about the next Media Boot Camp for Executives contact the Fallston Group at info@fallstongroup.com or call 410.420.2001.

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