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Planning a Press Event


Limit the number of speakers to a maximum of four to allow for follow-up questions from the press. Attempt to designate no more than three main spokespeople to take follow-up questions. If you have a large coalition, invite representatives to bring written statements (for the table or press kits) and help respond to questions, but not to serve as presenters. Likewise, you can invite policy experts to answer specific questions during the reporters' question and answer period.

The opening statements should be crisp and not time consuming - about three minutes each. The combined opening remarks and statements should only take 10-15 minutes. A moderator should introduce the speakers and be prepared to coordinate the question period. This person could also be delivering an opening statement. Make sure your press kit includes a list of the names and titles of your speakers so that photographers can take a copy and correctly identify each person.

Think carefully about the order in which your press conference speakers will appear. Have a complete text of their statements, but ask them to summarize the most important points and try not to read each word. Reporters not attending the news conference will need copies to use to write a story if they are unable to personally cover your media event. Also, preparation and circulation of the text at the news conference eliminates errors copying down remarks or misquotes. You might want to make an audio copy of the event and pass the tape along to reporters who plan to file a story and need more details. But don't send them a tape unless they ask for it. Few of them have time to listen.

More on choosing speakers...

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