New information relating to a big story being followed by the media.
A statement on a controversial issue.
Participation of high profile speakers or celebrities.
Release of important new findings or research data.
Launch of a major new initiative.
Announcement of something of local importance.
Location and Set-Up
A central well-known location convenient for journalists and appropriate to the event.
Avoid a room which is too large and gives the appearance that few people attended.
Make sure the noise level of the room is low.
Reserve space at the back of the room for television cameras, possibly on a raised platform.
Reserve an additional quiet room for radio interviews following the press conference.
Ensure light and sound systems are in working order.
If possible, have a fax and phone available.
Make sure there is a podium and a table long enough for all spokespeople to sit behind.
Consider displaying large visuals such as graphs, logos, or charts.
Prepare a "sign-in" sheet for journalists so you know who came and where to find them.
Decide if you wish to serve coffee and tea, or light snacks, following the event.
Work out a timetable to ensure that everything is ready when it is needed.
Hold the event in the morning or early afternoon of a workday.
Check that you are not competing with other important news events on the same day.
Start the event on time - avoid keeping journalists waiting.
Distribute material prior to a news event: you can use an embargo to prevent journalists from publishing before the event.
Wait until the event to release important information to create an element of suspense.
Media release and Press Kits.
List of news conference participants (who was on the panel and their titles).
Copies of speeches.
You can invite by phone or by fax or post, but a telephone call first is always a good idea for ensuring that important papers find the right journalist.
Find out which journalists report on issues relating to your event or issue.
Keep an up-to-date mailing list or database of journalists.
Focus on getting the most influential media to attend.
Consider inviting international and foreign media if the topic warrants.
Get your event in journalists' diaries 7 to 10 days before the event.
Always make a follow-up call after the invitation has gone out to check that the right journalist has received the information.
Consider providing general background briefings to important journalists prior to the event, without disclosing your main news story to them.
Consider offering "exclusive" angles on the story to key media.
If you already know some journalists well, involve them early and fully.
Select appropriate speakers. (This seems obvious, but sometimes people are asked to speak because they have certain positions, not because they are good at speaking and know the issues). Select strong speakers who are articulate, authoritative, engaging, and clear.
Brief speakers carefully on the main message of the event.
Prepare speakers in advance on how to answer difficult questions.
Offer to provide speakers with Question and Answer material.
Try to hold a meeting to brief all speakers before the event.
Ideally, each speaker should present for only 3 or 4 minutes.
Have each speaker make different points.
Make sure that each speaker makes one or two important points ONLY.
Keep speeches short and simple, aimed at a general audience and avoid technical jargon.
Select a moderator who will manage questions from the floor after the presentation.
Encourage lots of questions.
Keep answers to questions short.
Within a few hours of the conclusion of the press conference, fax or deliver information to important journalists who were unable to attend.
Make sure the switchboard of your organization is advised on where to direct follow-up calls from journalists.
Gather press clippings of the coverage which results from the press conference and distribute this to important coalition partners and policy makers.