Challenges with Covering Community People & News

15 Nov

I just wanted to share the issues I have encountered in trying to help build my community through media coverage. Ok, I know I’m not a multi-billion dollar media outlet. YET.  I can’t say I have a thousand dollars to spare these days, but I do have a passion for covering people and stories that are relatively unknown in my community.

Why Community Organizations Are Unknown

Who are you?

I had a conversation with a fellow news creator about why many organizations on the South Side are unknown. She said that many of them want coverage by large newspapers and tend to reject stories by smaller sources. I never thought of that. But after a recent conversation with a leader of a relatively unknown community organization who wanted to know how many people were going to see the story I intended to write about them, I realized how true my colleague was.  Dude, only people in your immediate community knows who you are!!! Granted, I’m not Clear Channel Communications, but I do have a following. And, depending on the size and recognition of the organization, isn’t it better to have a little coverage than none?

Why Aren’t  People Using Skype?

SkypeI am working on branding myself as a journalist, online engagement guru and author. One way I am going to do so is by conducting Skype interviews, and either audio or video recording them.  Many people seem to be anti-Skype.

One person wanted me to do an in-person interview. I really didn’t have a problem with that if time permitted.  But to travel for the interview, conduct the interview, edit the content, and post it will take at least 4 hours of time for a 15 minute interview. If Skype were used, we can set up, interview and possibly post all within 2 hours, and that’s stretching it. I admire his efforts to follow his dreams, which is why I wanted to interview him in the first place.  But seriously?? And he did not seem open to a telephone interview.  Needless to say, that interview never took place. Work with me please!!

Anyway, I think many people are anti-Skype because they do not know how to use it. And instead of asking for instruction, they look for other alternatives, which are time-consuming and not very productive. Also, some people just hate it, which is understandable, too.

My advice to independent professionals and small businesses who are called for interviews:

1. If a reputable media source of any size calls you for an interview, consider it. You don’t have to do it, but don’t discount it, either.

2. Remember, they are busy just like you, so try to work with their schedules as much as possible.

3. Learn Skype. Even if you hate video interviews and are having a bad hair day, the interview can still be audio-recorded using Skype. These recordings make it easier to post on other sites, which will extend the reach of your interview.

*********

Have you ever been approached my a small media source for an interview? What was your experience? OR

Are you a media source that approached community people and organizations for a story and got snubbed? Please share.

Images: kyle-nelson, wirespot

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