Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Media Relations 101

Among the panels this past weekend at the "Double Pump" conference in LA was one on dealing with the news media.

Danyelle Sargent of Fox Sports, who moderated the panel discussion, compared the relationship between coaches and reporters to a dysfunctional family.

A couple of highlights:

-- Keep your sports information director (SID) or media relations person close. "Your SID needs to be in your ear." -- Jim Harrick (pictured at left)

-- Some players aren't ready to talk to the media. They're uncomfortable for whatever reason. Make sure you (1) give them training and (2) protect them a little. But it depends on the program and the player. UNC, for example, doesn't allow freshmen to talk with the press. At the University of Texas, however, Kevin Durant was being interviewed from Day 1.

-- Beware of talk radio. "There are no checks and balances with talk radio. It can be brutal." - Denny Crum

-- Don't keep secrets. It only drags it out. When there's bad news, tell it all; tell it fast. Go for the quick hemorrhage rather than the slow bleed. (Gary Parrish/CBS Sports)

-- Sources are everywhere. People within your organization -- even on your staff -- are happy to share information with reporters. If you don't tell your story, someone else will.

-- Don't lie. As with any other relationship, trust is the key to a good relationship with the press. If you can't talk about something, say so. (Jeff Goodman/FOX Sports)

-- Know who's who in the media. Do some scouting on the reporters, hosts, and columnists in your area. Who is covering your team? What's his/her background? What's their history covering the program? (Mike DeCourcy/The Sporting News)