Partnership: How can we become noticeable so that also the traditional media could be used to reach the relevant target groups?
• You have to be available, honest and clear when communicating with the media. Even if the municipality has not set up and adopted an official Communication Strategy, it is important to set up a framework and concrete rules on how to communicate to your local media.
• It is also important to clearly define who will represent the local government in certain areas. The media prefers experts over press secretaries, but the department of public relations should still be the coordinator of media events and all messages should be previously discussed. It is important that the messages sent by the organisation (through different officials) should not be contradictory. This is especially vital in the time of crisis. Personal relationships with journalists are important. You should know which journalist works in which specific area. You do not need to be friends – but have a good relationship with them.
• In order to get a message out in the media, the topic must have an interesting angle and show a case which the reader can relate to (identification). However, you cannot control the media, they always are free to choose what to publish. But in case of most municipalities, it is always possible to publish opinion articles to explain the City Government’s viewpoints. When the media is not interested in a topic, it pays to explain the topic and offer the opportunity for visualisation- to give them interesting data etc.
• Although the role of social media is growing, local media will always have a role in reporting the news and forming opinions. However, it is possible that local channels might change or evolve. It is also clear that online versions of newspapers will become more important.