Media Relations for Municipalities
There will come a time when your municipality needs to respond to the media as a result of negative press or during a time of crisis. Instead of being silent, trying to hide, or saying, “no comment,” municipalities will get a better response from the media when providing honest, simple answers.
Examples of alternatives to silence or “no comment” when responding to the media in person or over social media are:
- “We are aware of the situation and are working to gather the facts. We will share verified information publicly when we are able.”
- “Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We invite you to attend our public meetings to express your opinions to council.”
- “We appreciate your feedback. Hearing from our constituents is important to us. We invite you to share any further thoughts in a follow up letter or email.”
As a result of today’s technologies, news travels at lightning speed, especially over social media. It is important to draft responses and reactions for all scenarios in your crisis communications plan which should be referred to in your social media policy. Government entities, just like all companies, must be prepared to disseminate a public response without delay.
Good communication can be the difference between a crisis handled well or poorly. Stay ahead of the story through preparation and planning. In addition to having a well thought out crisis management plan and social media policy, be sure your spokesperson have attended media training to assure that they will handle the media in the best interest of the municipality.