February 2015
Communications & public relations advice for nonprofits                                                                                                                                                                                                

  Brought to you by your friends at Anat Gerstein, Inc.  



We hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day weekend. As we celebrated in our own ways, we were reminded of what makes a great relationship: excellent communication.


When speaking with a reporter, communication is key as well. In this newsletter, we highlight the most important things to remember when communicating with a reporter, and specifically focus on how to handle an interview. 


We also feature an interview of our own, with fan-favorite NY1 News morning reporter Roger Clark. 


Finally, we are excited to welcome new staff member Carly Rome, who, although she just finished college (one semester early!), has already worked in journalism, public relations, and marketing.  


Yours truly,

The Anat Gerstein, Inc. team
Anat, Jeff, Katrin, Zac, Rachel, Carly, and Joanna



Top 5 Things to Remember When Interviewing



Don't be scared if an interview comes your way. A reporter's job is to report the story. An interviewee's job is to get the reporter to report the story with the desired messaging.. We've talked about the importance of preparation and practicing before - to get your key messages down so you can communicate them appropriately. With that in mind, here are 5 things to know before your next interview. 

  1. Treat every interview like it is your most important interview.
    You never know where the interview will appear and where the reporter will land one day. An interview is an opportunity to communicate your key messages and build a relationship with both a reporter and his or her audience. 
  2. Never let your guard down. 
    Everything you say may be published or aired. Be clear when something you want to share is off-the-record or for background information. If you think you misspoke or if the reporter seems to be misunderstanding, clarify your points. 
  3. Make your point. 
    A 10-minute interview could be boiled down to one quick soundbite, so keep your messages short and clear. Also, you do not have to answer questions you are not comfortable answering. Try to pivot by remarking,
     "That's a good question, but what's more important is..." Or say, "That's a good question and I'll have to give it some thought, but what I can tell you is...(go back to your main point)."
  4. It's okay to say, "I don't know." 
    If you do not know the answer to a question, do not give one. It is better to say, "I don't know." You can try to find the answer and get back to the reporter later. 
  5. Posture and expression come across--even on the phone. 
    If you are on the
    phone, stand during the interview because sitting will make you too relaxed. And, be positive and smile (unless you have made a strategic decision to frame things in a negative light and/or you are responding to a crisis).


There is one key to a successful nonprofit: strong management. You can improve your organization's management and overall success by applying for the 2015 New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards starting March 2, 2015! Winning nonprofits receive a total of $60,000 in cash, and more. Stay tuned for more details.

Pitching Notes: Roger Clark, Reporter/Anchor, New York 1 News:



What stories do you like?

I like stories that display the many flavors of my hometown. That includes spotlighting the talents of New Yorkers who do unique things. That could be in the cultural world: art, music, and non-profits and individuals doing amazing work in their communities across the five boroughs. Of course, anytime I can try something physical and fun on the air I welcome that too.

What are your favorite stories?


I think my favorite stories are the ones when I get to try something different. For instance, and this is the truth, I recently tried sushi for the first time during Bronx Restaurant Week in the South Bronx. It was fun to share that experience with viewers, and in that case the Bronx Borough President was there, too. For me, it's all about providing entertaining and informative segments. The times I have been able to do something involving music, like when I did air guitar one morning, have also been memorable.

What are the ingredients for a good story?

In my case, I do live morning segments, so we usually have a separate guest or guests for each segment. That always adds to the story to have a few different perspectives, as opposed to just one representative.The visual aspect is always important too. If we are talking about fitness, there should be some people working out, and the opportunity for me to join in, too. If it's food, the chef should be there early so I can stuff my face on TV. For an interactive museum display, it needs to be turned on. It's basic stuff that we need, so when we are ready to go on the air, it's the best and most visual segment possible, and really tells the story. It always pays off in the end for both parties. NY1 viewers get some fun TV and the subject of the story gets to shine during morning drive.


Do you have any constructive advice?

As for advice, it's pretty simple: be on time for live TV segments. We had a situation recently where a guest was late and then asked for extra time to get prepared for the segment. That doesn't work well during the busy morning schedule. Also, the segments always seem to work better when there is action. If we are highlighting swimming safety, have a lifeguard at the pool early so we can actually be in the pool for the segments. It beats looking at an empty pool. 


What is the best way to reach you?

To contact me with a story pitch the best way is to e-mail roger.clark@NY1News.com. Include as many details as possible, including what can be offered for morning segments as far as guests, visuals and any activities I can take part in. It's also key to know how feasible it is to run cable into the location from the news van since we often need to broadcast from inside. 


Pathways to Excellence: Excellence in Communications

Strong communications practices help nonprofits succeed, whether it's by raising money, recruiting volunteers, advancing a policy agenda, launching a new program, or reaching another organizational goal.


Come hear about communications best practices on March 18 from past New York Community Trust Excellence Awards winners and semifinalists: BronxWorks, NY Cares, and Washington Heights Corner Project. The panel will be moderated by nonprofit communications expert Anat Gerstein.


The event starts at 9:30 AM at the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York at 135 West 36th Street, 15th Floor, in Manhattan. You can register here.



We currently work with 14 nonprofit organizations on a retainer basis - providing them with year-round services ranging from media relations to functioning as their outsourced communications department (developing all collateral, annual reports, and newsletters; running social media channels; managing website content; creating videos; drafting all donor communications including appeals, campaign books, and fundraising campaigns; pitching press stories; and, providing strategic media and crisis communications). We also work with nonprofits on a project basis.  


To see a full list of clients, visit: www.anatgerstein.com


If you want to learn more about how we can help your organization, contact Anat Gerstein at 718-793-2211 ext. 100 or at anat@anatgerstein.com.


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