Media Relations in the Community

Zac Zehnder
2 min readNov 16, 2021

Journalism might look easy, but there are so many important things that happen beyond the surface that people do not often think about. Through listening to a conference posted by ONA on Soundcloud and gathering the thoughts of a local reporter in Lynchburg, it was interesting to take in a couple of things.

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I’ll start off with relationships because this seemed to be the most important part to me. Both sides had talked about how important in was to build relationships within the community as it will open doors of information that you can trust.

The session from ONA talked about how someone asked a reporter for a few lefties and a few righties (politics) and the news reporter was able to get them the exact description of what they needed because of the amount of people she had met throughout the community. This shows the amount of trust you can get from anywhere by being an engaged news reporter.

A point that can be improved on as talked about in ONA is how you can get local news information to everyone in the community. Sure, there are things like Twitter and Instagram where you can get your information out quickly but one person in the session talked about how they had googled something and did not get any search results for it as it was happening in the area.

An opinion that I pulled from a mix of both pieces from the outside looking in was the possibility of journalistic duties being overthought. It is important to stick to the basic things that you need to get your job done without adding to much fluff. The reason I say this is some people will blow up the words ‘build relationships’ and they are so focused on being the good guy which can sometimes impede the ability to get information they need.

An idea I would have to connect a local news organization to the community would probably be having a couple of events around the city where people can come and follow the organizations social media. If you set up food and a couple of things to do, so many people will be attracted where they can be informed that you do exist and are a human. I think sometimes journalist can seem to only be fact gathering robots and this can be intimating to the very people that can and should be relying on your services.

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