A news (or press) conference is an informal assembly, perhaps called at short notice, so that a statement may be given to reporters and questions answered. A news (or press) reception is a more formal and organised occasion when there is a programme of activities such as demonstrations, speeches and perhaps the showing of a documentary film supported by hospitality which may include a bar and buffet: A facility visit entails taking a party of reporters on a visit to a distant location or on a demonstration ride, flight or voyage, In organizing these PR events the following points should be considered very carefully:
1. Does the news content of the occasion warrant bringing busy journalists and others from their offices to your venue? Would not a news release suffice? It is a fallacy to believe that the press come only for the beer.
2_ Is the date sufficiently advanced to allow your guests to print the story? As a general rule, early in the day, early in the week, early in the month, and an early enough month are excellent guidelines, It all depends on whether the story is intended for tonight’s, tomorrow morning’s, this week’s, next week’s, or next month’s newspaper or magazine, IT it is intended for the women’s press they are planning six months ahead and need copy at least three months in advance.
3. Is the venue easily accessible? Journalists often find themselves invited to two or three events occurring simultaneously.
4. The press material should be slight and simple such as a brief news release and a well captioned picture, supported by a sample if that is _feasible, Elaborate press packs, loaded with irrelevant items such as a picture of the chairman, catalogues, price lists, sales leaflets, picture postcards, free gifts, house journals and company histories are definitely not wanted, The ideal press material can be stuffed in jacket pocket or handbag.
But if more elaborate material is absolutely essential, there should be an assistant on duty who will undertake to have bulky material hand-delivered or posted to the journalist. IT there is, for example, a choice of pictures they should be displayed and guests can then be invited to request prints which can be dispatched as required.
It is not very hospitable to thrust a heavy press pack into the hands of guests as they arrive they do need hands with which to write and handle cigarettes and food, Nor is it wise to place press material on chairs, The distribution of pictures and information should be strictly controlled and this will ensure that it stands the greatest chance of being used, On press facility journeys it is extremely foolish to distribute heavy press packs at the beginning of a journey, but better to supply a brief itinerary or background information on the outgoing journey, and to supplement this with further information if required-during the day or on the return journey, Unwanted and irrelevant press material will be unceremoniously deposited under seats and lost These remarks may seem like common sense, but there seems to be a fetish that a specially designed and printed press kit must be produced, and that it must be packed with every conceivable item. All the press want and need are the essential unadorned facts which seldom need occupy more than one piece of paper, Sometimes as much money is spent on a useless press pack which the majority of journalists will lose as soon as is decently polite.
Press packs become even more pointless in the press rooms of exhibitions where perhaps between one and four hundred exhibitors are supplying press information, The simple, clear single sheets of paper will disappear into journalists pockets; the cumbersome expensive press packs will have to be dumped by the luckless exhibition organizers when the show closes, The press do not come to exhibitions armed with suitcases in fact, they seldom carry briefcases, How not to conduct press relations can be learned in one short visit to an exhibition press room.