We love getting to know new organisations and they certainly don’t come nicer than u3a – the University of the Third Age. With a rebrand imminent, we helped the charity get lots of coinciding column inches and airtime to reintroduce the charity to national media. Like a good gin and tonic, language and news go hand in PR hand. We noted that much of the language used to describe older people is patronising and sometimes even offensive. Often, the way they’re portrayed in society leaves a lot to be desired. We gave u3a a platform to challenge that narrative by creating the most patronising terms used to describe older people. We gathered insight and written accounts from over 1,000 u3a members as to what words they’re labelled with that get under their skin and asked the wider public how often they still use these phrases, which worryingly included ‘codger’, ‘biddy’ and ‘past it’. We coupled this top line with plenty of in-depth analysis on how this language makes people feel. Editors, producers and presenters were keen to get their teeth into the thought-provoking piece and gave u3a the chance to tackle an element of how older people are perceived and ultimately treated in society. MAIN COVERAGE Print: The Daily Telegraph, The Times, Daily Express, Daily Star, Metro UK, Irish IndependentOnline: Telegraph Online, Mail Online, Wales Online, Irish Independent and plenty of greatregional titles Broadcast: BBC Radio 4, TalkRADIO, Times Radio, loads of BBCs
Luke Mahoney, a metal detectorist, unearthed 1,000 coins (they were actually silver but it doesn’t work for this case study’s headline) using a Minelab Equinox 800. The rest was not meant to sound like Craig David’s Seven Days but however we write it, that’s how it sounds… so let’s go with it: Took a brief from our first US client late on ThursdayWe had snappers and a journo in a field by FridayThen a valuation on SaturdayWe chilled on Sunday (ed – except to get the pics and copy approved)The story met the media on MondayWe all went for a virtual drink to celebrate on Tuesday Ok. We’re better at quick turn-around news sell-ins than we are at ripping off Craig David songs. Still a good result – and some ridiculous credits for the Equinox 800. MAIN COVERAGEPrint: The i, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, The Sun, Daily Star, Telegraph, The Times, Daily Express and front page of The East Anglian Daily TimesOnline: BBC, Telegraph, The i, Mail Online, The Sun, Times, LADbible, Mirror
When we started contacting journalists through WhatsApp it felt new, now it’s common… and so is sending audio files through the app for use on radio news bulletins. WhatsApp has become the ‘go to’ for newsrooms across the BBC and commercial sector to gather soundbites for their 6am bulletins. With a news-y story, especially with case studies, you’re likely to get lots of requests for people to send audio this way on the day before the embargo breaks. If you’re working with spokespeople or case studies who haven’t used WhatsApp, here’s a super quick guide you can copy and paste. Get their permission to send their number first – and obviously give them a heads up on who’s contacting them. Install WhatsApp on your phone: https://www.whatsapp.com/download/ Make sure notifications are turned ‘on’ Journalists will send you their questions through WhatsApp, either as audio files (which you hear by pressing the play button) or as a written list To record your answers, look for the microphone button to the right of where you type messages – don’t press it yet DON’T do this: press and hold the mic button, record your answer, and release it (this will automatically send your audio) INSTEAD: press and hold the button, slide it up – this will lock the recording – then begin recording your answer in your own time. If you’re happy: press the ‘send’ button (it looks like a ‘play’ button where the microphone was) If you’re NOT happy and want to re-record your answer, you’ll see a cancel button After you’ve sent the audio files, you can still help us by: 1. Telling the journo if there’s a gap from the start of the recordings before you speak; 2. Thanking them for running the story and asking when you can hear yourself on air; and 3. Sending that info onto us Thank you. You’re now a WhatsApp pro.
Lockdown is ripping up broadcast journos’ little black books as they look for new contacts who don’t come with technological barriers. Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re at the front of their new digital Filofax. Hardwire, don’t WiFi I can’t watch or listen to another glitchy interview, please. We’re months into lockdown now andbroadcasters are no longer jovially explaining away poor connections on the ‘new normal’. If you’re running interviews off a laptop, buy an Ethernet to USB converter and commandeer the room where your router lives or have an aerial company run ethernet to your home office. Get a USB mic A half decent USB mic will make a huge impact on the audio quality you’re sending. If you’re doing lots of TV, work on your framing to try to keep it out of shot. That takes usto… If you’re doing lots of TV, work on your framing Ditch the curated bookshelf. Carefully positioned copies of The Art of War and The Alchemist (Istill don’t get what that one’s about) may say something about your intellect but we want audiences focused on what you’re saying. Framing should be pleasing but neutral. Help your PR team Some interviews are easy to set-up, others: well, not so much… trust us on that. Treat eachinterview as if your PR team has secured it only after going toe-to-toe with a barrage of hard news, because they probably have. Know each journalist you’re speaking to; make an effort to explain you’re available for interviews in the future; and do all the usual prep and more to make sure you’re both telling a great story and providing quality airtime. In short, be memorable. How do media want to link up? Media are playing around with all sorts of different options. We use some tech that connects youto us, and us out to media, so you have no need to even think about link ups. If we’re not involved, you’re going to need to have accounts for Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp at a minimum. Create a one-pager with your contact details and be flexible. Oh yeah, and learn how to use a voice recorder for radio that want a quick soundbite for the early morning bulletins. I had a bad dream about my kids walking in during a live interview Safeguarding aside, if they manage to escape their dad and work their way into your interview: be unapologetic, stay calm and politely usher them away once. When that inevitably doesn’t work, use the parenting superpowers you’ve developed over lockdown to distract them or sit them on your lap and continue as best you can without missing a beat. If the presenter chooses to cut the interview short, that’s their call… but you’re now a multitasking powerhouse and the challenge is to stay as calm as possible (until you’re off air, at least) and assume the broadcaster wants to continue if you do too. You now have an opportunity to unseat the ‘go to’ voices we see and hear on news topics.