Education is increasingly coming under the media spotlight. Earlier this year it was due to changes in how schools are funded, run and managed. Later we had the usual media feast of praise, or blame and shame, as the summer exam results were announced. But how prepared are Headteachers and senior leaders to handle media interviews or deal with door stepping journalists should a serious incident occur?
Over the last few months we have been approached by several schools, academies and colleges who have recognised that they need to be more proactive with their news agenda. Schools are, by their nature, full of good news and great human interest stories, and understanding how to promote your school through the media will help you raise your profile and enhance your reputation.
Local newspapers, work on very small budgets and have slimmed their reporting staff down to the minimum. They are still hungry for news, but often don’t have the resources to hunt it down. You can develop a nurturing symbiotic relationship, by sending good press releases with photos, feeding your local papers with the stories that they need.
Having a good relationship with your local media is important, not just when it comes to good news, but also in times of crisis. Any school can be thrown into a media crisis and, with the immediacy of social media and the rise of citizen journalism, it’s vital that you are able to act quickly and respond appropriately.
Having an action plan and learning universal techniques that you can use in any crisis is a good place to start. Ensuring that your senior spokespeople are trained to handle media interviews will mean that you present a caring, professional face in times of crisis and success.
When it comes to media handling skills, it really doesn’t take that long to get up to speed. We recommend a full day, tailored, Media Workshop for six people. We cover print and broadcast, success messages and crisis management interviews in one day. It’s a great learning experience, the communication skills that you develop are transferable and when the media come calling you’ll be able to handle their interviews with confidence.