NEWS HOOKS As the smoke clears: Alaska Legalizes Weed, Boko Haram, American Sniper

February 24, 2015

shutterstock_62404903 Before today’s news goes up in smoke, take note of a few things.

Like all stories, there is a beginning, middle and end. News is just a summary of compelling stories for the day. They’re being written newly each day and by offering yourself as a source to media contacts, you can help shape and form public stories of interest.

Shoot, just now on the TV I saw a “Whitney Houston fan” used as a source to discuss the reasons why her daughter may or may not be in a coma. I found that interesting. I mean, using a fan as a source on coma commentary. Hmmm. See, in the past 25 years I’ve done PR, only experts have really been used as sources. By experts, I mean doctors, authors, industry leaders and people with first-hand experience, say a personal friend of the celebrity or someone who’s experienced what we’re discussing in the news: storms, legislative changes and so forth. In today’s Twitter fueled world, “sources” come in all forms.

To be part of the public conversation a particular news venue is shaping, the first step is to be a fan. Join your favorite media on social media to really stay in touch with the stories they’re shaping. Before the smoke clears and your opportunity to be a source passes you up, take note. If you’re offering yourself as a source, today, you might want to tie in your expertise to these items trending in the news. For example, Alaska becomes the 3rd state to legalize marijuana. Perhaps you live in Alaska or even better, maybe you’re a doctor who can discuss the pros and cons of smoking weed. These are the types of sources media today will be seeking. People who have authored books on the history of drugs or addictions can also use this news to forward a public conversation to which they’re committed.

Patricia Arquette is still in the news today about seeking equal pay at the Academy Awards. But this time, the smoke surrounding her isn’t her politics, but instead how she missed the opportunity to include all minorities. So, if you have a masters degree in social work, local and national media would love to hear the truth about how minorities are under-served and how this Hollywood tie-in fits into news in their backyard.

Dating back to the Trojan war, disguise has always been a large story to tell. Today militants aligned to the Nigerian radical Islamist group Boko Haram have been captured attempting to escape the northeastern town of Baga disguised as women, according to reports like this one from Newsweek. It’s a current-day war story that’s sure to be retold in the future and media friends will be seeking experts who can discuss war, Boko Haram, Nigeria and the use of women as a distraction. This topic is also a war reality that was featured front and center in the currently-in-trial Chris Kyle story, also now a popular movie on PTSD, American Sniper, winning a best-sound Oscar at Academy Award this past Sunday. Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, clutched dog tags at the awards ceremony. For weeks to come, experts on war strategy, PTSD/mental illness and how war affects women is sure to continue to blow as the smoke tries to clear.

What’s smoking in your sphere of influence? Connect with media contacts influencing you. They just might want to hear from you; at least until the smoke of today’s news clears.