Preparing a Press Conference

Read this page about how to prepare for and conduct a press conference. It includes information about meeting audience and media needs, setting up the room, and post-conference follow-up.

Arranging a Press Conference

What is a press conference?

  • A tool designed to generate news -- in particular, hard news.
  • Can advance the cause of your organization.

Why should you hold a press conference?

  • Can give more info than in a press release.
  • Be interactive --answer questions.
  • Announce something unprecedented.
  • Set the record straight following negative publicity.
  • Boost group morale.

Times you could hold a press conference

  • When the event includes a prominent individual.
  • When you have significant announcements to make.
  • When there is an emergency or crisis.
  • When you want to react to a related event.

Before the press conference:

  • Define the issue.
  • Schedule the date and time.
  • Pick the site.
  • Select and train your participants and moderator.
  • Contact the media.
  • Follow up with the media.
  • Develop a press kit.
  • Prepare the room.

Your press kit should contain the following:

  • A list of press conference participants.
  • A press release & background info on issue.
  • Black & white glossy photographs.
  • Short biographies of participants.
  • Related news stories.

Tips for participants:

  • Be clear and concise.
  • Assume the audience is intelligent.
  • Don't fiddle with or clutch anything.
  • Dress appropriately and neatly.
  • Always tell the truth.

Preparing the room:

  • Check location of electrical outlets.
  • Set up a table to seat your spokespeople.
  • Provide seating for reporters and their equipment.
  • Display visuals as a backdrop to the table.
  • Have a sign-in pad for attendance.
  • Provide a podium for the moderator.
  • Set up beverages.

At the press conference:

  • Welcome the press.
  • Have them sign in and give each of them a press kit.
  • Seat the participants at the table facing the reporters.
  • Check sign in pad for which media outlets are represented.
  • Start no later than 5 minutes after the scheduled time.
  • Tape record the event.
  • The moderator should welcome the press and introduces the issue and participants.
  • Each participant should present for 3-5 minutes, making 3-5 key points.
  • After presentations, the moderator should entertain questions and direct them to the appropriate participants.
  • After about 45 minutes, bring the conference to an end. Thank the participants and the media. If appropriate, encourage the media to stay for further informal conversation with the participants.

After the press conference:

  • Look through your attendance register to determine which major media were not represented.
  • For those that missed, deliver a press release and press packet, send a tape feed, or schedule an interview with a reporter and one of the press conference participants.

Source: University of Kansas,
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Last modified: Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 1:48 PM