How to Hold a News Conference

Call a news conference only if you have something new or significant to announce — journalists will lose respect for you if you summon them for no important reason.

Choose a time that works best for local media deadlines & a location easily accessible for reporters and television cameras.

Consider choosing a location that is appropriate to the announcement – a day care, hospital or
housing site. But be careful because things can go wrong if you choose a noisy location, for example,
or if someone kicks you out because you neglected to obtain permission to use the site.

Stand at a podium or sit at a table – standing is usually better.

Have a backdrop — your signs or party logo, or a flag.

Prepare a statement, news release, and possibly a backgrounder to hand out.

If someone else presides, have her announce that you will make a brief statement, then take
questions. If you chair yourself, make a similar announcement.

Deliver a brief statement, talking rather than reading, but be precise about anything that you have
placed in quotes in an accompanying news release (Read these if you must).

Deliver your message directly to the cameras in front of you, or looking off just a bit to one side of the camera.

Invite questions, but keep your responses brief and on message.

Respond to the questioner, but if there are television cameras present, beware of turning too sharply
in one direction or another (if the questioner is off to the side).

Don’t let one reporter monopolize – ask if anyone else has questions.

Indicate when you are taking your last question, but be somewhat flexible.

Following the last question, leave the room. If you give an interview to one reporter on the way out, others may scrum you, too, and it will be hard to leave.

Co-operate if a television reporter wants you to do a walk through, or simulate taking a phone call as
a prop for their news story. But be careful about what you say in a simulated situation, because the microphone may pick it up. Anything that you say is fair game for reporters.

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