By Joanne C. Gerstner
A diplomatic tug of war happens every day between sports media and public relations/sports information staffs.
The reporters have a job to do, and want to get their information quickly and accurately. The public relations professionals walk the fine line between helping the media and managing their messages.
Sometimes the two sides converge, and sometimes they are at odds.
There will be an expert panel discussion on Saturday morning (June 22) at the AWSM conference about sports media and public relations relationships, exploring the nuances and best practices for both parties to work effectively together.
Michele Himmelberg, Disneyland’s public relations director and one of AWSM’s founders, will moderate the panel. Participating experts are: Gina Chappin, director of media for the Rose Bowl Game; Mark Dalton, vice president of media relations for the Arizona Cardinals; Marisabel Munoz, senior director of international communications for Major League Soccer & Soccer United Marketing; Rich Nairn, senior director of communications with the Phoenix Coyotes; and Doug Tammaro, assistant athletic director for communications at Arizona State.
“I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s unique take,” Munoz said. “Particularly, improving relations between journalists and PR professionals to me is a large topic because every professional in my industry is different and has their own personal approach. That said, journalists also each have their own approach too.
“Knowing the journalists I’m working with — who may range from Germany, Argentina or the ever-changing U.S. Hispanic space, maximizing my experiences in the sports media, and being infused with our company goals and objects at MLS and SUM (Soccer United Marketing) are key for me to achieve success. One of the truly great things about our careers is adding your own ‘spice’ to your method. And that’s what I hope to impart.”
Each panelist faces challenges in maintaining their team/school/league’s space in the crowded sports marketplace. Fostering good media-public relations relationships can bridge the gap, and help both parties do their jobs effectively.
“Our biggest challenge would be to try and keep the Coyotes top of mind in the Valley, which is an extremely competitive sports market,” Naim said. “With the Cardinals, Suns, Diamondbacks, ASU sports, as well as PGA and NASCAR events, we need to be very proactive and aggressive in order to generate media coverage for our organization.”
Tammaro hopes for an active discussion with fellow panelists and the audience, looking at how to communicate with the media in today’s hectic multimedia universe.
“What is the best and most effective way they seem to want and get their information?” Tammaro asked. “Do they still like getting a phone call, or would they want an email first to let them know why I am calling?”
Convention agenda: Check here for the full schedule of #AWSM2013.