CPRS Canadian Public Relations Society
Copyright Canadian Public Relations Society - January 25,
Media Relations - Newspaper Know-How
"We're in the business of selling trust," says
Jeff Ansell, a media, crisis and speech counselor.
Newspaper Know-How By: Shannon Clark,
CBC English Communications
Armed with The Globe and Mail and The National Post, guest speaker Jeff Ansell
began a presentation that ranged from identifying new clients to improving
crisis communication skills with a few simple tips. "There is no greater
opportunity to identify new business than with the newspapers," began
Ansell, at the CPRS Professional Development event, November 17th, which
focused on print media savvy. In his experience, potential clients are often
very interested in acquiring public relations practitioners who can convey
their messages with clarity and a sense of accountability.
"We're in the business of selling trust," says Ansell. Rather than
warning clients to avoid negative comments, he believes that nothing conveys
trust better than candor and clarity. Identifying a confusing quote in one
article, Ansell illustrated how it failed to convey good intent or enhance the
organization's reputation. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant", says
Ansell, who suggests that negative allegations against a client be acted upon
quickly. Conveying honesty and responsibility, through expressing the
willingness to act ethically, is often the key.
While Ansell is an advocate of open and honest communication, he says that
public relations is a balancing act and "though we want to be open and
honest, it's not a confessional." With some situations, Ansell says that
any response, even declining to respond, will further a debate. To this he
advises that "sometimes it's a game of got'cha and we must choose our
Jeff Ansell, President of Jeff Ansell and Associates, is a media, crisis and
speech counselor with almost 20 years of journalistic experience to his credit.
He teaches an advanced course on dispute resolution and consensus building in
high visibility cases in the Negotiation curriculum at Harvard Business School
and guest lectures on management communications in the executive MBA program at
the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario.
For more communications strategies and media relations tips, visit Jeff Ansell
and Associates' web site at www.jeffansell.com, or contact him directly at