The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Holding a Press Conference
You don't have to have an press conference to talk to reporters – if you have information you want to share, you can just send it and follow-up with a phone call. You should only hold a press conference when you are announcing something new, can present a great visual (such as a big group of supporters) or are releasing a report with information that is new or important enough to be considered news by reporters.
If you decide to hold a press conference, pick a time and location that is convenient for reporters. Email a media advisory a few days before the event. Follow up in the days before the event with phone calls "pitching" the event to reports – practice your pitch so you can quickly and convincingly describe the event, the news, and if appropriate, the good stories and visual images that will be available.
Have the basics that you might need: a podium, a sound system, a campaign banner or other visual backdrop, water for the speakers.
Have press materials available. Press materials are any information that will make it easier for the reporter to do a story: the press release for the event, a short paragraph identifying each of the speakers, copies of speakers' remarks if you have them in writing, and whatever campaign materials or background information will help explain the issue and the campaign.
Speakers & Topics
Don't let your press conference drag on by having too many speakers or having them talk too long. You don't want reporters to lose interest or feel like you're wasting their time.
Aim for a few speakers each talking for a few minutes, so that you get from presentations to reporters' questions in 15 minutes. It may not always be possible - it can be challenging to enforce that kind of discipline if you have a large coalition. But it's better to create other opportunities for different leaders to speak than making reporters wait for 20 minutes before getting to ask questions. Other leaders can stand behind the speakers to create a good image of a campaign with broad support.
Get agreement in advance on the order of speakers and what topic each will cover. Have a moderator begin with short welcoming remarks, identifying who the speakers are, and describing how the press conference will work. The moderator should also call the press conference to a close after an agreed-upon amount of time or when questions have trailed off.
Here's an example of how a press conference might start and end:
Good morning. I'm Tanya Doe from the Downtown Cluster of Congregations and a co-chair of the Make Yourself Count committee. Today we're going to hear about the launch of our campaign and the importance of the census. We'll hear from Mayor Jones, Bob Smith from the Chamber of Commerce, Sue Brown from the labor council, and Bill Doe from the city school board. We're also proud to be joined by other community leaders who will be important to making this campaign a success. After each of our speakers has made a few remarks, we'll take questions.
[Have each speaker go to the podium, introduce themselves, and speak for a few minutes, then after all the speakers have finished, have one or more of them take questions from reporters]
Thank you for coming. Some of the speakers may be able to stay for a few minutes and answer questions individually. If you have any other questions about the campaign, feel free to contact me or another of the campaign co-chairs. Our contact information is on the press release.
After the press conference, send the press release and other materials to reporters who did not make it to the event and follow up with phone calls offering them the opportunity to speak with one or more of the speakers.
You should plan to record your own event with a digital video recorder if possible. That way you'll be able to create your own news by putting the event or edited highlights on the website and send it to local bloggers and news outlets. The same goes for taking still photographs.