What do the news media want? Sigmund Freud spent a lot of time a century ago pondering a variant of that existential question – “What do women want?” Eventually, he concluded, it was best to ask them. And so it is with the news media, which many of us interact with on a daily basis.
A lot of utility spokespeople used to work on the other side of the fence, reporting, editing and producing news for newspapers, online news sources and radio and television stations. That’s valuable experience that gives those spokespeople a leg up on other media relations professionals who have not logged time as a member of the Fourth Estate.
But being an effective utility spokesperson does not require a stint in the news media. And regardless of whether you toiled in journalism’s vineyard earlier in your career, you can do a fine job if, as Dr. Freud suggests, you ask reporters, bloggers, editors and producers what they want – then make every effort to give it to them in the way they want it.