One of the best advantages of membership in the National Association of County Information Officers is the listserv. It is a great way to get almost instant feedback from fellow Public Information Officers from across the nation on any topic related to being a PIO.
I was asked to give a presentation on media relations to the N.C. Solid Waste Enforcement Officers Association at their annual conference last week. Like most of us, I have ideas and thoughts on the issue of media relations, such as never going off-the-record, always stressing the positive and boiling down your message to no more than three key points - and then repeating those points throughout the interview.
As I was working on my presentation a few weeks ago, I decided to solicit input from my fellow NACIO members and posed a query to the listserv about best tips for media relations practices. I received numerous good ideas and incorporated all of them into my presentation. Of particular value were the thoughts of PIOs who are former media members and who could provide some specific insight as to how newspapers and television stations decide what goes on the news.
I encourage each of you to use the listserv, especially if you are faced with a particularly thorny issue at work or if you have been assigned a new task and you are looking for advice from those who have gone before you. Using the listserv is simple: simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the email will be automatically forwarded to all NACIO members. OF course, you must be a member in good standing to access the listserv.
I also encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences when others seek input through the listserv. It is a great way to share your knowledge and to bolster the professionalism and capacities of all of our members.