Best Resources for Media Relations, Social and Emergency Media-Success With The Media

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Resources supporting “Success With The Media,” a groundbreaking new book on media relations, organizational dysfunction, and marketing from national award-winning media relations specialist Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr.

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Books this List Supports

The resources below support “Success With The Media,” my book on media relations, “Emergency Management in the Digital Age” (in editing), and a future book on “Media Relations and Criminal Justice Agencies.”

Why This List?

If you are like me, you have limited time, but you need access to the best sources and materials. There are a limited number of sites devoted to interacting with the news media thus the reason for this site and book.

Resources will be amended as necessary. The vast majority of links provide either free or reasonably priced services or information.

If you have suggestions or additions, please contact me at

What’s below is what works for me, and its taken years to develop. It’s not exhaustive nor is it meant to be. It’s my “go-to” guide for resources I either use, recommend or find indispensable. Its relevance depends on who you are and what you are trying to accomplish.

Please note that I’m not reimbursed in any way for the inclusion of any site. They are here because they are relevant to our needs.

Media Relations has Changed

Media relations has taken on a greatly expanded definition.  We now create our own content and partially control our own destinies. The days when we were subject level experts, spoke to the media and did a bit of marketing are over.

We need to understand emerging technologies and new ways to communicate. The landscape is changing rapidly and it’s up to us to change with it. Content creation is now the heart and soul of public communications. Social media doesn’t exist without great content to support it.

The problem is that content creation (audio, video, photos, writing, websites, social media, graphics) and marketing can be exhausting. We need quick and simple tools to get the job done. Most products are created by public affairs staff and subject level experts, not trained content professionals. Like our friends in the media, we now have to do it all.

A few organizations have analytics, content creators and marketers by the score. But for the vast majority of companies, government organizations, nonprofits and charities will find the resources below immensely useful.

How the List is Divided:

The list is divided into five categories:

  1. Daily Reading and Reliable Resources
  2. Content Creation
  3. Social Media
  4. Emergency Management
  5. Sites of trusted associates.

Yes, there is overlap for all five.



Daily Reading and Reliable Resources

Resources for Dealing With or Understanding the Media

I wrote “Success With The Media” and created my personal site at because materials on media relations are sparse. Surprisingly, when it comes to talking to reporters, there are few great resources.

Most “media” related resources spend the majority of their time focusing on social media or the PR disaster of the day, not mainstream media relations or tips on interacting with staff or reporters.

In a world obsessed with social media (I use it daily) we need to understand that most people still get their local and national news from traditional media sources (per Pew), see .

This data and research from Marketing Charts (below) showing that professional advertisers still allocate the bulk of their money to traditional media, websites and e-mail (not social) reminds us that our relationships with news organizations remains vital.


Sources focusing on interacting with the news media are few. My recommendations include:

The Public Relations Society of America at is America’s premier media relations and PR site. Fee to join. Their newsletter is part of my daily reading.

There are organizations that provide media assistance to individual sectors. For example, I belong to the National Association of Government Communicators ( and I find their resources both welcomed and useful. Similar organizations represent health care, colleges, businesses and other institutions. Search “public affairs” or “public relations” and the sector you represent to see if an organization exists for your sector.

The Federal Communicators Network is at

The federal guidebook to digital communications is at

The Barcelona Principles is a set of seven principles that provide the first overarching framework for effective public relations (PR) and communication measurement, see

The Federal Communicators Guide (it’s dated but remains free and useful) is available at

If you are interested in emergency management, or media relations in general, the website at the Federal Emergency Management Agency has useful resources at Search “public affairs” or “media guide” or related terms to access a variety of materials from style guides to emergency plans (see “public affairs support annex”) to a media event planning guide.

Best Sources for Information on the Media

If you want to understand the news media, there are useful resources. In my opinion, the best are:

This article is the best overview as to understanding the media ever written. It’s amazing to me as to how little discussion we offer as to how the media process works, see

Newman Lab at (on my daily reading list)

Pew Research Center Journalism Project at (on my daily reading list)

Encyclo, the future of news from the Neiman Lab at

The Columbia Journalism School at

The Journalist Toolbox from the Society of Professional Journalists (sources for reporters) is available at

A guide to pitching journalists is available at

Exhaustive list of media organizations is available at

Media/PR Codes of Conduct

The Society of Professional Journalists latest code of ethics (updated last year) is linked here. It’s is voluntary and not all journalists are aware of it. I have found it useful when I have issues with individual journalists, see

The code of conduct regarding public relations professionals from the Public Relations Society of America is at . It’s useful when someone suggests that you be less than ethical in your duties.

Best Daily Reading on Media Relations, Technology, and Social Media

The choices regarding daily reading on media relations, technology, and social media are overwhelming and the list below represents a small fraction of what’s available.

I’m unaware of a daily publication solely devoted to media relations, but I’m sure that the publishers of a variety of newsletters will object to my observation.

For news about the media, I read the Neiman Lab  and the Pew Research Center Journalism Project daily newsletters (mentioned above).

My everyday list includes Marketing Charts for simple, up-to-date research on professional marketing and Search Engine Land for digital communications.

Marketing Charts at (on my daily list)

Search Engine Land at (on my daily list)

Favorites if I have time:


PC Magazine at

Mashable at (home to the best basic guides on social media)

I read MediaBristro on the train ride home at

I read PR Insider on the train ride home at

Google Alerts for Speciality Topics

Develop Google Alerts for every topic you are interested in, see Google Alerts is part of my daily reading and I use it for mentions of the organizations I represent and when I’m interested in specialty topics. Just note that Google Alerts is not going to “alert” you to every mention of your organization. It has a habit of notifying me as to mentions in a small newsletter but misses an article containing my name on the front page of the Washington Post.

Google Alerts is, however, wonderful for alerting me to topics I’m interested in.  I’m currently researching the use of ads in YouTube and e-books as well as media relations.You have the choice of daily or less frequent notifications.

Best Source for Online News/Journalism

Online News Association at

Best Tech Podcasts

The best podcasts on technology are from “This Week in Tech” at . TWIT brings you into contact with some of the best subject level experts in technology and emerging media. It also provides us with examples as to how we should conduct our podcasts with a focus on being entertaining as well as being informative. The TWIT network provides approximately 30 television and radio (audio and video) shows a week. There are hundreds of additional tech podcasts.

Best Sources for Daily Reading on Social Media

The section on social media is below but I’m addressing daily reading here. Requesters ask for guidance as to social media reach, audience, demographics, and insight. The best source for everything mentioned is the Pew Research Center for Internet, Science, and Tech. You can spend a lifetime with other publications but the majority of the lessons you need to know come from the two links below from Pew.

Don’t forget the previously mentioned Marketing Charts and Search Engine Land publications; they can provide insight that may not be labeled “social” but provide powerful perspectives when comparing one source of communication to another.

The Pew Research Center for Internet, Science, and Tech at

The Pew Research Center (provides a broader perspective) at

Social Media Today is a favored spot when I have time at

AllTop provides a guide to other social media publications at

Basic Guides to Technology

Probably the best, basic, easy to understand guide to tech is Yahoo Tech at

The best of Yahoo Tech is from David Pogue at


Podcasts by LS-600x600

Content Creation

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Content creation has become a mandatory part of our jobs. The good news is that we are creating websites, taking great photos and making better-than-average audio and video with smartphones and simple tools. We are truly part of a revolution that does not involve years of specialized study. It’s not easy, but with instruction, remote courses (see Lynda.Com or the Mac University or YouTube) it is doable.

When reaching out for guidance as to content creation, please understand that you will often deal with specialists who want it done “right” and their definition of “right” far exceeds the needs of most of us (i.e., buying a $5,000 camera when a $2,000 purchase is peachy).

For example, in setting up my video production capacity, I asked for guidance from experts who are principally focused on creating for television and movies because they staff most organizations or businesses that are equipment related.

But all I needed was the capacity to shoot “decent-acceptable-better than average” video for the internet. Some insisted that I buy a video camera with enhanced color separation (known as 4-2-2 color separation) for green screen productions when most of the people I knew were shooting acceptable/good green screen video for the internet with cameras without 4-2-2 color separation. For example, I went to a demonstration where a video specialist shot a green screen video with an iPhone and it looked just fine.

The same applies to audio. I created award-winning audio with less than stellar microphones in a room not soundproofed using simple and free downloadable tools on a MacBook Pro. It sounds fine.

Go to the pros for advice but network with others for less expensive solutions before making final equipment decisions.

Sources of Training

Most of us in media relations are subject level experts who migrated into public relations and marketing years ago, or are transplants from the media. All of us have strengths and weaknesses, but none of us know everything we need to do our jobs. To be effective at media relations via content creation, we need training. You can wait months for your organization to foot the bill, or you can spend endless hours teaching yourself, or you can go to Lynda.Com

Lynda.Com is a great, reasonably priced service that’s wonderful for those learning their platforms, see . Their video courses are designed for people with and without technical backgrounds. For $25.oo a month, it’s a bargain that will save your time and sanity.

For Apple products, their courses are inexpensive and superb through The Mac University via the Mac App Store. I taught myself FinalCut Pro from these videos.

I used YouTube for learning about my new, television quality Cannon digital video camera and I was able to find a variety of useful resources. Try YouTube first but note that it can also be a waste of time when looking for precise information.

See an overview of content marketing at

Best Source for Information on Blogging

ProBloger at

Best Source of Information on Writing for the Web

Copy Blogger at

Best Source for Designing Promotional Materials

Try Canva at for flyers, brochures, banners, letterhead and everything else

Best Video Production Sources

YouTube has been described as the world’s second largest search engine. If you are not involved in video podcasting, please reconsider.

Video Maker is your best source for video creation at

Moviola is another good resource at

Great explanation of video formats at

Steve Garfield is a personal favorite; he’s a consultant but he’s one of the best in the business at making video simple at

Vimeo provides a reasonably priced place to store and share videos and has a nice film school, see

Best Audio/Podcast Production Resources

I was offering radio and television shows on the internet before the term “podcasting” became part of our media lives. I created the first state and federal podcasts with multiple national and regional awards. There are a considerable number of articles addressing the rise of popularity of audio podcasts. If you are not involved in audio podcasting, please reconsider, see    and But audio is not just for podcasting; it has endless uses for web or internal communications.

Pew has a great fact sheet on the use of podcasting, see

Neiman Journalism Lab offers a comprehensive article on podcasting every Tuesday at

Transom is a great resource for doing audio “right” (think National Public Radio) but for many of us creating audio, it’s a bit stuffy (courses are very expensive) but never the less, it’s a great resource at . They offer a series on podcasting basics.

Great basic checklist from Transom for doing audio interviews at

Good article from Transom on audio equipment at

Tow Center for Digital Journalism article on podcasting is available at

A great resource for setting up a studio and learning about recording is available from ACX (associated with Amazon) at . The site focuses on audio book recordings but the lessons are universal. See the site for great and simple guides to audio recording.

Adam Weiss is a personal favorite, he a consultant but he’s good at

iTunes offers guidance (not easy for a novice) for creating RSS feeds (distributing material via the internet) for a podcast at

Creating a podcast with Audacity and ITunes is available at

A basic guide on podcasting from Digital Trends is at

The Audio Publishers Association (audio book industry) is available at

Where to put your podcast at

The Podcaster’s Studio is at

Fixing messy audio at

A respected source is the Podcast Answer man at

Best Photography Resources

With still and video cameras in smartphones rivaling expensive professional and consumer cameras, I almost didn’t include this section. Newspapers through the country are cutting back or eliminating their professional photography staff and that responsibility is falling to reporters. The premise is that anyone with a current smartphone can get “decent” photos and video. Photo editing tools such as Picasa from Google and iPhoto from Apple plus others allow intuitive photo enhancement.

That said, please see for suggested resources.

See “The Best Places to Buy Equipment” below and  feel free to call Adorama or B&H or visit your local photo shop. My experience with Adorama and B&H has been very good; I can talk to experts about my photography needs and ask them to stay in budget with their recommendations.

Where to put your photos? Flickr at used to be a primary resource but today, every social media site is photo based just as every social media site is video based.


Figuring out the impact of your digital efforts challenges many major corporations, so why shouldn’t it drive you crazy as well? From my reading of Marketing Charts, it seems that most PR executives are not overwhelmingly pleased with their very expensive analytical tools as to judging the impact of their efforts. Efficient ROI, or return on investment, still escapes most.

See the article from Search Engine Land for an overview at

For the vast majority of us, we use Google Analytics ( ) WordPress or other blog data and server statistics. Just note that there is considerable difference between the numbers Google Analytics provides and what server statistics offer. Server statistics always seem to return much higher numbers even when subtracting robot data. There are articles explaining why.

Most platforms provide their own analytics and they are improving, see information on a new Twitter app at

News Media and Social Media Monitoring

We used to get copies of newspapers and physically clip articles, package them and mail them out. I started a service using women inmates in a maximum security prison to do our newspaper clippings and analyzing news coverage and bringing items of importance to our attention. They were very good. Commercial services once taped television shows in your market and offered physical copies by mail. We also copied news shows via DVR. We listened to radio news during our morning drives.

For an overview of media monitoring, see Today, monitoring is a digital process that includes newspapers, television, radio, and website-social media analysis.

A good, basic guide is available at

Most of us use Google Alerts and search engines for media stories and social monitoring. Above, I stated that Google Alerts is only moderately accurate and the use of daily search is recommended. Twitter has a variety of applications (including hashtags) that will allow you to keep track of your tweets and those mentioning your organization. Hashtags are now a common resource for most sites. Same with ‘what’s trending.”

There are a multitude of media and social media monitoring services available, simply search the term.  But like the opening paragraph to Analytics Software, many in PR do not see them as comprehensively effective; there is slippage, and they are  expensive.

Stock Photography

There are now dozens of sites offering stock photography and video and I suggest that you Google “stock photography” or “stock video” and make your own decisions. All I can suggest is that iStockPhoto is probably the best of the bunch. Yes, you can get visuals cheaper elsewhere but the time that it takes to sift through multiple services will make you wish you just stuck with iStock at . Yep, they are more expensive than the others and their payment policies (you have to purchase credits) made me scream in the past but they are getting better on both fronts as the competition builds and their material is of very high quality.

Some additional resources to consider:

Stock Video

Same as for stock photos (above). My current favorite is VideoBlocks at

Some resources to consider:

Where to Put Your Video

YouTube, the world’s second largest search engine at

Vimeo provides a reasonably priced place to store and share videos without the restrictions on YouTube, see You can share to multiple platforms.

WordPress can handle your audio and video, see and but note that they have to be hosted on a server you pay for.

iTunes can distribute your audio and video podcasts at but again, you have to store them on a service or server.

Note that Facebook and Twitter are challenging YouTube for video dominance. There are an endless array of new services for video, and a dozens of new sites incorporating video into their everyday offerings plus apps that aggregate video feeds based on your location. Video and video news is exploding and few know how it will play out.

In the social media section, you will notice new video and live streaming platforms. Some suggest that video “is” the new social media.

Where to Put Your Audio

Soundcloud is reasonably priced for unlimited uploads, see

WordPress can handle your audio and video, see and

iTunes can handle your audio and video podcasts at

Note that some are placing their audio on YouTube and incorporating photos or video.

Best Place to Buy Equipment

You can buy equipment from anywhere and the Apple Store has a great reputation, if you can work your way through the crowds, I found that calling them is saner ( but if you need to talk to experts who will tell you what you need to buy, and more importantly, what you don’t need to buy, B&H Photo and Adrama are your best bets for both service and price.

Adorama at

B&H at

Best Blogging/Website Platforms

The world’s largest source for blogs and websites at and See my article comparing the two services at .

Blogger from Google is at

SquareSpace promises an easier experience for the price of regular website hosting at

Tumblr is at

Best Source for Promotional Material

If you need business cards, signs, banners or coffee mugs, see Vista Print at

Best Sources for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Your best source for SEO is the previously mentioned Search Engine Land at Just realize that every time I examine SEO, the rules seem to change. Be prepared for a wild and confusing ride.

Google’s Matt Cutts at suggests that creating great content is the key to getting your materials noticed. Matt is correct but there are other things you can do (mobile, key words, sitemaps, site load speed) that can enhance the possibility of your material being found and shared.

There was an article in Search Engine Land stating that ninety percent of all websites get thirty or fewer unique views a day. If true, it suggests that gaining visits and page views can be immensely difficult if you operate a site not connected to traditional advertising or established sites or issues.

Suggested articles:

Basics of SEO from Search Engine Land at

Article on the best use or WordPress SEO at

Checklist for SEO at

Another checklist for SEO is at

A list of recommended resources for search engine assistance/internet marketing tools from ProBlogger at

An article from The Next Web on the benefits of making your website mobile friendly is at

E-Mail Services

There are multiple sources for e-mail services (Google the term) but for most of us, we use Mail Chimp or Aweber. Mail Chimp will let you create lists for free and populate with your e-mail contacts. You begin paying their fees when you start using the service to do mailings.

Some use Microsoft Outlook for mass e-mail distribution but it’s buggy and cumbersome.

Mail Chimp at

Aweber at

Book Promotions and Publishing

Get Your Word’s Worth (free book from Amazon as to publishing and marketing-amazingly useful regardless as to its age) at

Amazon Kindle Publishing at

Apple Publishing at

CreateSpace at

Note that just about every book I’ve read on self-publishing indicates that it’s very hard to make a profit. Consider e-Books.


Please note that streaming from your phone will cause you to significantly dip into your bandwidth allotment or use it completely. Try using phone apps with wi-fi. Also, please do not confuse professionally done, multi-camera streaming with the new phone apps; there is a world of difference at to sound and video quality.

Telestreaming (good videos and seminars) at

USTREAM is available at

Facebook live streaming at

You can stream for free via Stringwire at and the video on the site is available for your use. Note that the app is from NBC/Universal. You have access to the videos for your own use and they provide an edit capacity.

There are phone apps that will stream live and allow your audience to replay it, see Periscope at

See Mashable’s list of articles on Periscope and Meerkat at Note that as of March, 2016, Meerkat is no longer in the streaming business.



Social Media

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Basic Guides to Social Media 

It seems that every dog has its day when it comes to social media as to getting traffic to your website. One day it’s Tumblr and the next it’s StumbleUpon and then we hear little to nothing about them. The sites continue to be very popular, it’s just that there is confusion regarding referrals to your website. Some suggest that it’s no longer that important to get people to your website as long as they are exposed to your content.

Social media platforms are not supplemental websites. My guess is that most go to Facebook and stay there thus your Facebook presence is just as important as your website. What you develop in social needs as much attention as your website; don’t create a social media presence without paying attention to its development and care. Note that you don’t have to be on all platforms. Some sites are more attractive to targeted demographics than others. Don’t develop a social media presence without having the ability to create content.

The social landscape is changing rapidly with demographics favoring one site over another. Per Pew, you can get a significantly different social experience on the same topic so if you are analyzing public response to issues, it pays to review multiple sites.

When I listen to tech podcasts, they suggest that social media platforms need to monetize rapidly and that we should expect to pay more for their services in the near future. A recent article suggests that YouTube, as important as it is, makes little to no money, see Pinterest’s new monetization rules have changed the landscape for influencers, see

According to reports (listed below) Facebook organizational pages are distributing a small percentage of posts to your audience for free. If you want full distribution, you have to pay. Paying Facebook works for many, but it could be a problem (or a question of ethics) for government, associations, and nonprofits who have small to non-existent marketing budgets. If you plan to use a Facebook organizational page, please be ethical (if you have no intention to pay for full distribution) and tell your readers that they will not get all notices.

The lessons? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and continue to develop your e-mail lists while making the best use of social media. If you have a budget, consider paid advertising. Facebook works remarkably well for many businesses.

My social media strategy is to focus on relevant groups (rather than individuals) that reside in every platform. A focus on groups has increased referrals to my websites by twenty percent and more.

In the list below, I rely heavily on Mashable because they provide the best, simple guides.

Suggested Introductory Articles

A basic overview as to social media use and news consumption from Pew is available at

A basic guide to social media from Mashable at

Ninty-two Essential Social media resources from Mashable at

Basic guide to social interaction at

Eight Steps to good social media from the Huffington Post at

A guide to hashtags from Mashable at

A guide to the size of images you should use (from Constant Contact) on social media is at

Simple Guides to Social Media Services


Mashable’s basic guide to Twitter at

Video for Twitter at

For a general guide as to what twitter participation means (and participation in social media in general) see


A basic guide to Google+ from Mashable at


More than a basic guide to Tumblr from Mashable at


A beginners guide to StumbleUpon at


How to use Facebook from Mahalo at

Mashable’s basic guide to Facebook at

Mashable offers additional Facebook guides for business at 

Facebook for Business at

The Facebook Help Center at

Facebook organic reach at

Facebook organic reach at


A simple guide from Digital Trends is at

Mashable’s guide is available at


YouTube at

YouTube Creator Academy at

An interesting article on science programs for YouTube from The Conversation is at

Snap Chat

SnapChat at

SnapChat explained at 

How news organizations are using SnapChat at


LinkedIn at

How to Use LinkedIn to Advance Your career from Forbes at


How to Use Pinterest for Beginners from PC Magazine at,2817,2418047,00.asp


How to use Instagram for beginners from Mashable at

Research on Instagram at


How to use Vine for beginners from Mashable at


A beginner’s guide to Whatsapp at from the Huffington Post at

New Initiatives in Social Media

Fast Company’s list of innovative social media platforms at



Emergency Media Management

Materials Forthcoming



Sites From Trusted Associates

Purchase book at

“Success With The Media” was edited and produced by Advanced Editorial at . Advanced Editorial specializes in book editing, marketing and publishing.

Ronnie Romero is my website development specialist. He’s friendly, accessible and offers personal and reasonably priced services at or at

Cherry Bonachita created the cover for “Success With The Media,”  she is at Cherry is a virtual assistant who does everything you need as to conducting business in the digital world.

Rob Winehold and The Fallston Group specializes in PR, training, marketing and crisis management at

Kitty’s Wooley runs Senior Fellows and Friends, an innovative think tank for performance change within government. She previously held senior positions leading innovation and change at the US Department of Education. Her LinkedIn site is

FedInsider at specializes in government management, training and innovation at