Media roundtable is a personalized approach to build a relationship with the media, to engage, and to create a two-way dialogue. While a media Q&A or scrum happens at the end of a news conference is often one-directional, it is through a roundtable setting when the host has a chance to learn and listen to the journalists since they are basically “your eyes and ears on the ground”.
According to Wikipedia – Media Relations involves working with media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization's mission, policies, and practices in a positive, consistent, and credible manner. It can also entail developing symbiotic relationships with media outlets, journalists, bloggers, and influencers to garner publicity for an organization.
The idea of a Chinese media roundtable was first conceived when Choice Communication was asked by the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation to gather support from the Chinese community. We recommended reaching out to the Chinese media through this new format.
Since then, all levels of government, political parties, and corporations have adopted the format.
The benefits of having an event targeting certain ethnic groups are that certain issues carry more weight in different communities, reporting can vary through different cultural lenses, and ideas can be perceived through various inclusive and multicultural approaches.
To host a successful roundtable, a list of invitees that includes news directors and commentators will need to be carefully curated. Unlike their junior reporters who usually cover press conferences, news directors and commentators are more knowledgeable in newsworthy topics.
Whether the exercise will lead to immediate news coverage will depend on the topic or imminent issues, but it is a great chance to seed story ideas for future interview opportunities.
It is an opportunity to gather ideas and to learn about what the media has heard in the community through this less formal way of getting together. It is a great way to build a long-term relationship and worth investing in.