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School Marketing Blog

The professional school marketing manager needs to be up-to-date with the latest school marketing strategies and resources to successfully implement the school marketing plan. This school marketing blog enables school marketing professionals to engage in blog discussions relating to the school marketing issues of today. The 'School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed)', 2011, by Bryan Foster, forms the basis for most of these blog posts.

How to Deal with a Media Interview Request with Little or No Warning

Saturday, January 14, 2012
The media will sometimes request an interview from you giving little or no warning - and expect you to respond immediately. There are various strategies which can help with this difficult situation. Be well prepared before being interviewed by the media, even if this means delaying it until you become better informed.


The request usually happens when a story is considered 'big' and relatively serious or controversial and the media wants to run with the story on that day or the next. They basically want your instant attention and response, whether you are prepared or not.

This may be when something controversial or of a significant status has occurred. The suggestions on how to deal with this situation are relevant for most circumstances, be these professional, business or community based. The case study below will concentrate on a church or parish scenario.

Examples of media requests would include:

•   a disaster where the school has had major damage, such as from a major storm and fire, or it may sometimes involve arson or other criminal damage, etc
•   a leader, staff member or school employee has been allegedly involved with something illegal
•   a former leader, staff member or school student has done something highly successful, controversial or allegedly illegal
•   the government or local council have or will make a decision that impacts significantly on the school, church or parish, etc.

School Response

Initially in this case you need to advise the media that the school Marketing Manager or school Principal will speak with them shortly.

You have every right to consider your options before speaking.

It is often best to contact the system's Communications and Marketing Manager, if such a role or similar one exists. This manager is usually familiar with best practice for such events. The manager will either become directly involved and speak on behalf of the parish or offer suggestions on the best approach. The Manager may also contact others within or outside the diocese who may be able to offer advice e.g. lawyers, building or insurance advisors / consultants, counsellors, etc.

Offering a "No comment" is often fraught with potential misinterpretation or even worse. The outlet could, in this situation, just take the story according to the information they have, which may not be the truth or whole truth.

Comment truthfully.

You do not need to give all the details but offer what is needed for the media enquiry allowing for legal, privacy and ethical considerations.

Initially this may be just a simple, "Thank you for the enquiry. We will get back to you shortly."

When you are ready contact the media and arrange the interview - be careful not to leave too much time between the media's request and your response.

Being very well prepared before being interviewed by the media is a very necessary requirement for success. If you have not got all the details needed, request a short period of time to gather the necessary information - but do not leave the media waiting too long - otherwise they may go with the information they have, no matter its accuracy or fullness.

TThe 'How to Deal with a Media Interview Request with Little or No Warning' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from and

Photojournalists - Essential for Schools

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Photojournalists are essential for a schools success. They get the 'every picture tells a thousand words' to the general population.

Photojournalists are responsible for getting the best photos they can for their particular media outlets. Photos, like pictures, tell a thousand words - hence you need the best photo possible for your circumstances. Photojournalists will most likely have good ideas to best represent the image you or they want covered.

Photo sessions are usually enjoyable times for all involved. It is not often that people appear in the media.

The photojournalist usually works with the journalist who is covering the story. Yet it is often the photojournalist who decides which photos will be used.

There will be times when the media outlet only wants a photo and just sends a photojournalist. At other times you will need to arrange for interviews and photos at the same or similar times. However, at other times, the interview may happen over the telephone and the photo taken at a separate time. Even though most stories require a photo, sometimes it is not required.

Own Professional or Business Photos

There may also be times when the media outlet is quite happy for you to send your own photos by email instead of having the photojournalist come out.

This usually happens after the outlet appreciates the quality and content of your professional or business photos and the professionalism of your photographers.

This is more common with the smaller publications, or for photos accompanying editorial in special features and for advertising.

Rest assured that the outlets will invariably send out a photographer if you feel you need one.

Marketing Manager and the Photojournalist

The Marketing Manager, or selected well informed staff member, needs to attend all photo sessions. The Marketing Manager should treat it as an enjoyable time and it most likely will end up being so.

You are free to offer suggestions, though the final decision does rest with the photojournalist. Their employer is their media outlet (and not your business) and hence the photo taken is what they want. However, in most cases, the photojournalist is working with you and for the profession or business to be seen in the best light.

It is in their best interests to work with you for many reasons, including the media outlet's need for a good standing in the community. They will also possibly want photos, reactions or stories from your profession, business or field down the track. However, if you are being unfairly obstructive, then follow-up photos for other stories at other times may be few and far between.

For specific details of the unique school situation for dealing with photojournalists see Photojournalists and Schools - Duty of Care.

The 'Photojournalists - Essential for Schools' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from and

'Staged' Media Events for School Marketing

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

‘Staged’ Events for school marketing.

A number of events may be 'staged' for optimum media / marketing coverage throughout the year.

These events would most often be normal school events which would be heavily marketed, with a primary marketing aim of gaining some media coverage. The desired media involvement would be free coverage gained as a result of media releases and / or phone calls to key media people.

The main staged event for most schools is the Open Day.

Two other events, which have been found to be very successful at Aquinas College, were a special Phone-a-thon and a unique Liturgy.

The Phone-a-thon was set up with the local television station and went live to air during and after the local news and weather segments. The purpose was to track down past students from the College for an upcoming major school anniversary. The setting was a small room with a number of key people, including the Principal, a past Principal, staff member, student and Sschool Marketing Manager - all with telephones. The School Marketing Manager asked people to ring in details and also had a little 'chat' about the event with the host. The whole promotion went very well and was free of charge.

The Easter Liturgy is still covered yearly by the local television station and major newspaper. Its significance is its size, number of students in costume or otherwise involved, scenes and props used throughout the school campus and local church, and vision of whole school being involved with each new station of the cross.

Either the Principal, students or School Marketing Manager are interviewed by various media outlets each year.

Other events could be:

 the Night of Excellence / Awards Night
 a sports grand final game eg Firsts
 school musical
 a past students‟ event
 the school‟s feast day
 graduation day
 school formal.

The event, or aspects / moments within it, should be as unique as possible to gain media attention. The staged event then becomes the focus of a marketing campaign.

Written by Bryan Foster author. This is an extract from the section "'Staged Events'" in the 'School Marketing and the Media' chapter in School Marketing e-Handbook: Easy to Use Guide to Market Your School

School Marketing and the Media

Sunday, March 22, 2009
Trepidation is often felt about certain aspects of dealing with the media. Knowing how to use the media to the school’s advantage, as well as how best to school market through the media is a challenge.

Another is the challenge to effectively work through the production of various school marketing resources for the media.

How is this a challenge for you? How have you met this challenge?

Written by Bryan Foster

Click 'Comments' below to add your say or see others' views on this school marketing blog post.

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