Running a Press Conference
On the day of the press conference, everything should be designed to make life easier for all involved. Organizers need to arrive at least an hour before the press conference begins to double-check the physical and technical set-up of the room and to help camera crews get their equipment in place.
Make sure parking is easy to find, close to the location and free (or at least validated). If you expect TV coverage, arrange for special places to park satellite trucks. Direct journalists to the room in which the conference will be held, making sure that all routes are wheelchair accessible.
A greeter should direct journalists to the media check-in table. At the table, staff members can check press credentials, answer questions and hand out the press kit, including a program of who's going to speak and when. The staff can then direct the journalists to a clearly marked media area with seating that can accommodate laptop computers. Food and drink are optional, unless the press conference runs through lunch.
Start the press conference on time, even if only a few people have shown up. This shows respect for reporters' deadlines and the care they took to arrive on time.
The focus should always be on giving the journalist what he needs to do his job. The moderator should keep things moving, never indulging in lengthy introductions or re-hashing material that's stated in the press kit.
The press conference shouldn't run more than 30 to 45 minutes, including the Q-and-A format session. The moderator should ask reporters to identify themselves before asking a question and might want to repeat the question so everyone can hear it.
After the conference, it's a good idea to send press kits to journalists who showed interest in the press conference, but couldn't attend. However, with the gain in popularity of Web press conferences, journalists can attend virtually. Let's look at how Web conferencing technology brings press conferences right to a journalist's desktop.