Middle-Aged Media Dog Learns New Media Spokesperson Trick

This is a guest post by Capt. Adam Myrick, the public information officer for the Lexington County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Department.

“Treat every television news camera as if it’s rolling.”

That media training mantra goes back to the dawn of the television era of electronic news gathering.

Is the camera on a tripod? Act as though it’s rolling.

Is the camera slung over a journalists shoulder? Act as though it’s rolling.

Is the camera still in the station vehicle’s cargo area? Act as though it’s rolling.

But when it comes to recorded on-camera interviews, there has always been that quiet internal assurance on the part of even the most-experienced spokespersons that you could start over. Tripped over your words during a response?

It’s okay, this is for the 6 p.m. newscast and you’re recording the interview at 1:30 p.m.
But that’s not always the case anymore. This middle-aged media dog learned a new trick recently that, I’ll be the first to admit, shouldn’t have caught me off guard.

As I conducted a media briefing during the early afternoon, I did so with the thought that this would be like hundreds of recorded interviews I’ve done as a public information officer. Answer a few questions in a manner in which the content is still pertinent and fresh for the evening newscasts and that’s that.

I was under the impression the photographer was recording our interview to take back to the station so a producer could pull out sound bites for the evening newscasts. I was wrong…the interview was streamed live on the station’s website.

Tools such as a LiveU have long made gathering news in the field easier and “lighter,” but the thought of streaming a routine briefing from the scene of something that wasn’t all that urgent never occurred to me. I didn’t mess up, sneeze or fall victim to any other embarrassing snafu during the briefing. But I probably would have handled some of the extraneous noises a little differently had I known I was streaming.

The digital age in which we live has prompted an update to that long-held media training precept of treating a camera as if it’s rolling. We should now treat every camera as if it’s streaming.

Have you found yourself streaming when you didn’t expect it? What about new technology trends that you’ve seen out in the field that media relations pros should be aware of? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Adam Myrick PhotoABOUT THE GUEST AUTHOR: Capt. Adam Myrick is the public information officer for the Lexington County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Department. He has more than 20 years of broadcast journalism and public relations experience. As a member of Sheriff Jay Koon’s executive staff, Myrick is responsible for media relations, crisis communications and issues management. He also oversees the agency’s social media and digital communications platforms.
He tweets at @adam_myrick; his employer is @LCSD_News.