By Emmanuel Loro William
The best spokespersons I have known in this country are three. They mastered the art of public relation and are always familiar with any subject, when asked of one of the few living legends that I know, I can say they are Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Former SPLA’s (Now SSPDF) Spokesperson Phillip Aguer Panyang and none other than Maj. Gen. Daniel Justine. They know how to twist their language; they are friendly to the media and have good tone at all levels. They are always calm and truly believe in their message. You will never realize that debuting part in their voices, it is high time we need the rest to learn or step aside for other dancers who are not given the platform to showcase divine talent and save the image of the country and lobby for other international bodies and convince them so that the country can enjoy global recognition in political stage once again. As a media desk personnel, one needs to be at his or her best in terms of strategic communication and the reading of public perceptions before, during and after the communication and follow-up on how the communication was received and giving a checklist on issues that set a public agender as professional spokesperson, you need those issues public talks about then counter them immediately before any media asks you about them.
As a media desk, you need not to be weak and always be able to consume all news from local or international media to make your work easy because journalists get their news tips from those media.
Speak the truth, public relations is not about lies the more you speak lies the public and consumers of the message lose trust and confidence in your institution. The world is now a global village where any information can be accessed anywhere just at your fingertips so you need to be proactive and advance in your message that cuts across the demographics.
Having a bad media relationship as a media desk is another failure or you are misplaced in that position, you need to have up to date working relationship with media, e.g. your availability in the day or night communication is very vital not just when there is a story to respond to even without any story you can call media houses or visit them once, it is crucial in safeguarding your work. The privilege and sword that journalist has where he or she can write a story and call you or not and can hide under the pretext of “effort to reach Mr. Y for comment was not fruitful or went un answered but if your relationship is up to date, he or she will live no stone unturn to reach you, so always be at right side see the media as partners in development, not a competitor because the sword media can destroy you or sharpen you.
The first information that reach out is what audience stick to, it will take time for you to drive out that information so the early the better for you as spokesperson.
The author is a Public relations officer, former Chief Graphics Designer of Juba Monitor Newspaper and Journalist. The Founder and the Chairperson of The Public Relations Association of South Sudan (PRASS). Consultancy and Trainer on graphics.
C.E.O of 3L General Trading and Investments Company Ltd.
Currently Designer for No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.