by Sarah J.F. Braley | January 01, 2008

This checklist was compiled with the help of Ben Zeitlin, senior account director at West Glen Communications, a blended-media distribution house with offices in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. (

Determining Your Events Newsworthiness

  • Determine how your message would be important to the press. (Examples of newsworthy announcements include medical findings unveiled at a conference, product launches or major personalities delivering keynote addresses.)
  • In what ways will your message impact national and local audiences, as well as people in your industry?
  • Put on your news director’s hat and ask, “Why would my audience care about this message?”
  • Is your message timely? Can it be tied in to another topic that is already in the news?
  • Do you have good visuals?
  • Are you delivering something newscasters can’t get by themselves?

  • Contacting the Press

  • If your organization doesn’t have an in-house PR department, hire an experienced publicist. Get this pro involved early in your planning process.
  • Discuss to whom your message will be directed, such as industry media, beat reporters, technology reporters, health reporters, general interest writers, etc.
  • Determine which publications, channels and websites your audience regularly consumes.
  • Examine traditional ways to reach the target audience.
  • Discuss creative, out-of-the-box ways to reach the target audience.

  • Setting Up Press Conferences

  • Determine which executives and speakers to make available to the press. Contact them and make sure they are willing to be interviewed.
  • Schedule a room for press conferences.
  • Don’t assume your organization’s spokespeople are adept at working with the media. Sit down with them to discuss your organization’s key messages.
  • Do some role-playing and throw your spokespeople a few curveballs in advance to see how they’ll react if under fire.
  • Establish firm appointment times and confirm them with those who will be interviewed.

  • The Press Room

  • Set aside a breakout room with phones, electrical outlets, land lines, computers and high-speed Internet access.
  • Provide at least coffee and soft drinks, if not food, as well.
  • Create clearly differentiated badges for the press.
  • Create media kits -- in both print and digital formats -- with news releases, speaker bios and succinct background materials on your organization, including visuals.
  • Delineate where members of the media are and are not welcome within the venue. For example, is it OK for them to interview whomever they encounter? May they attend all sessions, or are some off-limits to the press?

  • Virtual Press Room

    For members of the press who can’t attend in person, create a microsite within your event website and provide:

  • Background video (also known as a B-roll)
  • Downloadable press releases
  • Video press releases
  • Audio clips
  • Archived articles, video and audio featuring your organization, with pertinent sections highlighted
  • Links to sponsor websites and other online resources
  • Notes: