How to Create a Media Room

Press
By Sherri Middleton, Managing Editor

Over the years I’ve attended numerous sports events, conferences and trade shows as a member of the media. In some situations, the media room is nothing more than a table and chairs with an overhead tent to provide shade. Other media rooms include live feeds of on-going competition, comfortable lounging areas and plenty of outlets and charging stations to handle the most high-tech gadgets we use to do our jobs.

Most organizations hope members of the media will attend an event, not only to provide up-to-the minute recaps and highlights, but also to develop longer, more in-depth coverage that showcases an organization or event to generate public interest. After all, when the press is invited, good publicity is typically the goal.

A media room is often the first impression of your organization and reflects heavily on the brand and event. Whether you’ve invited the media to a state high school track & field championship or a national tournament, the space provided for the working journalists, photographers, videographers and broadcasters needs to set the right tone.

Essentials for Media Workspace:

  • Access to event management staff who are available to answer questions or provide immediate assistance in gathering information or access to an athlete or others involved in the event.
  • Press credentials with full access to the event and the participants. While providing press badges is important, the event staff needs to know which areas the media may visit and any restrictions to access.
  • Press kits with contact information for all communications staff and other key figures at the event. The press kit might contain team or individual information, stat sheets, links to high-resolution photographs, logos and sound bites. Include background information that is relevant to the event and provide information about sponsors, volunteers and others who are involved.

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  • A space that is off-limits to the general public. That space should include ample outlets, charging ports, WiFi, secure storage areas for equipment, a printer, scanner and adequate lighting. The space should also include enough tables, desks, chairs or other work surfaces to spread out paperwork or room to read stats and notes. This work space should also include a quiet zone to allow interviews to be conducted with key event personnel.
  • A daily schedule with a description of the event along with times and locations if the event takes place over a wide physical area. A map, directions and landmarks are also helpful when the area being covered is spread out – such as in a road race or an event using multiple facilities.

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  • Many times, the media representatives who attend an event will spend the day or days on-site at an event rather than traveling to a hotel room or back to their office. During the course of this day, the reporter or photographer will conduct other work during the event, particularly when on deadline and the story or footage needs to be posted online or by deadline. As a guest at your event, providing bottled water, soft drinks, coffee and even a snack or meal is always appreciated. The media room is often called the media hospitality room because you want these guests to feel at home. The more time you can keep a member of the press at your event, the more the event receives exposure through updated scores, social media posts and content.

Next time, we’ll cover online media press rooms and the basic items members of the media would like to find on every site.