By Lee Makwiny via fb
Open Letter to Raila Odinga Media Team (Dennis Onyango, Philip Etale, Mdomo Baggy and others)
Media Relations involves working with members of the press for the purpose of informing the public of Raila’s mission, policies and activities in a positive, consistent and credible manner. Typically, this means coordinating directly with the people responsible for producing the news and features in the mass media.
Unfortunately, you guys often get carried away to imagine you are doing media a favour by inviting them to cover Baba. The truth is, they are doing you a favour.
Yesterday at Two Rivers when Raila was meeting with Kikuyu Council of Elders, journalists were treated with trepidation and you were very suspicious of them. This is a standard occurrence at nearly all of Raila’s events. Dis-organisation.
Twice, without any good reason, they were unceremoniously bundled out of the venue. They were also denied food after some of them had camped at the venue for the entire day. And the promised press conference never took place. There was no briefing by any of Raila’s people to the media.
The potential popularity of a story can outstrip the value of news, and therefore if mass media journalist show interest in your story, you must be prepared to make the most of that opportunity. Tragically, your management of the media relations at this event was just underwhelming and appalling. At one point shockingly journalists were asked to go and sit behind bushes far from the venue. These are professionals with many stories to cover on a particular day.
Their treatment by handlers of Raila is always in sharp contrast with treatment of scribes who cover events for other VIPs. In DP Ruto’s events for instance, journalists are treated like professionals, given briefs by designated persons, fed refreshments and snacks, and have all their questions and needs for clarification answered competently.
What are we driving at?
If you expect Raila Odinga to gain traction in mass media and to be viewed positively by the public then work closely with journalists. Avoid diverting their resources for personal use. For Raila to be president then you must consistently maintain a professional and friendly relationship with local media organizations. They are more likely to positively report and air your news over someone else’s of they can trust you.