Article first appeared in the Republican Newspaper in June of 2016.
The title of the book is, “Success With The Media.” But it’s the book’s subtitle that interests most people, “Everything You Need To Survive Reporters And Your Organization.”
It’s the author’s contention that internal politics are more challenging than dealing with the media.
It was written by Leonard Sipes, a former senior public affairs specialist and social media manager for the federal government. He has thirty-five years of national and state media relations experience.
The book is available from Amazon in print and e-book versions.
According to Sipes, “There are two kinds of people in the world, those who talk to reporters, and those who don’t.”
Those who communicate with the press often live a life of uncertainty. They find the media relations process to be filled with insecurity. Their stomach is tied into knots. They wonder if they will say or do something stupid that will jeopardize their job or professional standing.
Sipes believes that their fear is rational; it’s a very strange world of complexities. When the media calls, it’s sometimes hard to know how to react.
Bosses talk to favorite reporters without telling you. Experts and agency heads give you misinformation. Reporters can be demanding. They sometimes know more about a breaking incident than spokespeople.
Sipes amassed over fifty national and regional awards for his work while advising presidential and governor’s campaigns, representing McGruff The Crime Dog (the nation’s most successful public service advertising campaign) and being the federal government’s primary spokesperson for crime prevention for ten years. He was interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet and newspaper.
Sipes believes in aggressive marketing. He created the first state and federal audio and video podcast series and hosted award-winning radio and television shows for twenty-five years.
Sipes graduated from the Johns Hopkins University with a post-master’s Certificate of Advanced Study.
It was Sipes’ never-ending conversations with successful spokespeople and reporters that lead to the book. Sipes estimates that he had two hundred conversations with colleagues.
“Traditional media relations books and courses are misleading,” Sipes said. “There are few materials that truly represent what spokespeople go through on a day-to-day basis.”
“When I entered the profession, I took courses and read books that told me not to go off the record, yet veteran spokespeople told me that they did it all the time.”
“They also told me that my own organization would be my biggest impediment to good media relations which became a principle theme of the book,” Sipes said.
Methods of conducting media interviews, surviving, the dysfunction of internal politics (Sipes refers to these people as “the smoke-blowers”) marketing, how to break bad news first, social and digital media, the care and feeding of spokespeople and the dysfunctional process of hiring media representatives are all discussed.
Sipes said that he wrote the book he looked for early in his career.
Editor’s note: “Success With The Media,” is available from Amazon in hard cover and electronic versions at https://www.amazon.com/Success-Media-Everything-Reporters-Organization/dp/151948965X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=