Keys to Success in Media Interviews

So your organization landed that live TV interview. However, your spokesperson is nervous because he or she has never been on TV.

What do you say to calm their nerves? Some good ways to control an interview are stick to message points and repeat them often, “bridge” to return to these points and speak in “sound bites.”

Lukas Partners media training

Media training helps you understand how to communicate key information when talking to the news media. In a recent training session at Lukas Partners, Joan Lukas plays the reporter role as Nebraska Methodist College’s VP of Business Development & Communications Danielle Dubuc-Pedersen practices key message points on camera. Lukas Partners’ Trenton Albers records the session so Danielle can see how she kept control of the interview.

Omaha public relations firm Lukas Partners offers the following tips to help PR professionals prepare a spokesperson for an interview. 

– Set your objective.  

– Develop message points.

– Rehearse tough questions.   

– Provide support material.

During an interview, if there is a question your spokesperson cannot answer, he or she should not speculate or say, “No comment.” It’s ok to say, “I don’t know,” and then bridge back to one of the key message points. Other tips to control an interview include tell the truth and keep it simple.

Public relations professionals also can better prepare spokespeople for interviews by anticipating where the reporter wants to go with the story angle. You should set interview ground rules, know who is interviewing your spokesperson and research the situation.

Remember, your spokesperson is always on the record during an interview. Spokespeople should be positive, pleasant and cooperative as they speak with the media. And they have the right to end the interview when they feel they have spoken their key messages.

Media training is among the services provided by Lukas Partners. During a media training session, we provide scenarios spokespeople would face when they talk to the media, conduct on-camera interviews and provide constructive feedback to help your spokesperson prepare to meet the press. For more information about our media training sessions, please contact us at 402-895-2552 or

Scammers notice smartphones’ popularity

Smartphones remain popular with cell phone customers. Among the 326.4 million active wireless devices at the end of 2012, nearly 47 percent were smartphones.

Unfortunately, scammers have taken notice. A recent Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta study indicates that customers are three times more likely to respond to a phishing email on a smartphone than they are on a computer.

The reason: Many smartphone users don’t use passcode locks or antivirus software.

U.S. Cellular, a client of Omaha public relations firm Lukas Partners, encourages wireless customers to protect their smartphone the same way they would a laptop or desktop computer.

Customers can follow a few simple rules:

– Avoid downloading applications, files or clicking on any links unless they are from a trusted source.

– Update your voicemail PIN number and don’t share it with others.

– Don’t open e-mails, text messages or accept new contacts for your Address Book from people you don’t know.

Don’t display your phone number in public.

– Don’t provide personal information, such as credit cards, via text message.

Events Engage Audiences, Draw Attention to Program Goals

Healthy Kohl’s Kids will bring free bike helmets – and awareness of the importance of healthy living – to families with children ages 4 to 14 years old on May 15 for the Healthy Kohl’s Kids Bike Helmet Giveaway at the Kohl’s Oakview store.

The Healthy Kohl’s Kids van made a stop at Kohl’s Market Pointe store in Papillion on May 1 to give away jump ropes to encourage children and families to be active. On May 15, Healthy Kohl’s Kids will fit children for free bike helmets at the Kohl’s Oakview store from 4 to 6 p.m.

The event is part of the Healthy Kohl’s Kids program, a partnership between Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and Kohl’s Department Stores to educate children and parents about healthy eating and fitness. Through education, Healthy Kohl’s Kids aims to help the Omaha area become a healthier community in the years to come with fewer children and adults suffering from preventable conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Healthy Kohl’s Kids provides educational opportunities to area families through the Healthy Kohl’s Kids website, which features a library full of quick and easy healthy recipes for the whole family and how-to videos of young chefs making healthy meals and snacks, in addition to nutrition news and fitness tips. Healthy Kohl’s Kids also invites families to engage on its social media streams on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Lukas Partners is pleased to support Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in helping to coordinate the Healthy Kohl’s Kids program to help children and families in our community live healthier lives. You can help, too, by supporting the Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program. Every time someone purchases a Kohl’s Cares® book or plush toy at your nearby Kohl’s Department Store, a portion of the proceeds is donated to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center to support children’s health and educational opportunities. Since 2000, Kohl’s has provided more than $1.4 million to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center through the program.

Tips for Hosting a News Conference

Your company or organization has good news to share with the public. Spreading the word through the news media at a news conference can be a great way to communicate with a broad audience.

Lukas Partners Nebraskans for Peace news conference

Lukas Partners executes news conferences for clients, including this news conference at the Nebraska State Capitol when the Oglala Sioux Tribe announced its lawsuit against brewers, retailers and distributors of alcohol sold in Whiteclay, Neb. Nebraskans for Peace hosted the news conference.

But first, you need to decide if a news conference is the best avenue for communication. Will the news be of interest to many consumers or many individuals in your community? If not, maybe a news release will accomplish your organization’s goals with less expense – and less risk. Keep in mind that you’ll have less control of your message at a live news conference, and breaking news can affect news media attendance.

If a news conference is right for your organization and the news you plan to share, here are a few suggestions:

When & Where – Choose a date, a time and a site for the news conference that is convenient for reporters and bloggers. Make sure there is adequate parking and that the location is relevant to your topic. If you’re planning to hold the news conference outdoors, have a backup plan for inclement weather and a plan for communicating venue changes to the news media.

Message Me – Be clear about what you want to communicate and define your messages. Limit the number of speakers and provide talking points to each to avoid overlap of content and to encourage everyone to stay on message. Rehearse with your spokesperson(s).

On the Record – Everything said at a news conference is considered on the record, so your spokesperson should be truthful, clear and concise in all remarks and responses to questions. Remember that it’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” Even if you don’t have an immediate response, be helpful and offer to follow up later with an answer. Then follow through promptly with the reporter.

Fast Facts – Provide media kits to reporters and bloggers. This makes it easier for  them to tell your story and helps to ensure the facts they share are correct. Media kits may include a news release, fact sheet, speaker bios, company brochure or backgrounder, and photographs, video and logo on a flash drive or DVD so they can be easily accessed and used by reporters and bloggers.

Follow-Up – Afterward, contact reporters and bloggers who were unable to attend and provide them with the media kit so that they can still cover the story.

Try These Great Apps This Earth Day

Earth DayLooking for some fresh ideas to help make a difference on Earth Day this year? Look no further than your cell phone. According to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it’s estimated that more than 135 million cell phones – about four per second – will end up in landfills each year, while only about 10 percent are recycled. Recycling a used device represents a tremendous opportunity to reduce waste in the environment.

The following suggestions from Lukas Partners client U.S. Cellular show how simple it can be to find nearby recycling areas via your cell phone and highlight other easy ways to be more sustainable when using your device. All recommended apps are available on Google Play.

  • App – Find recycling points near you with the touch of a button. This app gives you addresses of recycling locations along with GPS-guided directions. It also allows you to find a specific recycling center based on the materials you are looking to recycle, making recycling simpler and easier. 
  • GoodGuide App – This app helps you determine whether a product you want to purchase is safe, healthy and green. It uses a barcode scanner to let you get quick access to environment and social ratings for more than 170,000 products in the U.S.
  • Fuelio App – You can track your fuel consumption, mileage and costs, even on multiple vehicles.

Cell Phone, Technology Transform PR Vehicles Not Objectives

When Martin Cooper placed the first cell phone call April 3, 1973, nobody at the time realized how that call would be the start of phenomenal changes in the way we communicate with one another.

The introduction of the cell phone was one of many technological advances that helped set the stage for a transformation in the PR industry over the past 40 years. Click here to view the interesting changes.

Technology has changed the way business is done:  direct mail has taken a back seat to email, in-person meetings are often conducted via  Skype, and traditional advertising is teaming with social media to further engage consumers.

At Lukas Partners, an Omaha-based public relations firm, we embrace advances in technology, keep current with trends and strive to share with clients that latest in an ever-evolving industry.

While advances in modern technology continue to change the vehicles in which we communicate a message to an audience, our objective remains the same as it was when we opened our doors 40 years ago — to get the right message to the right audience at the right time.

Omaha: Home to Public Health Leaders

National Public Health Week is April 1-7, and Omaha public relations firm Lukas Partners salutes those organizations who work to support better health for everyone.

Public health improves the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, public policy, and research for disease and injury prevention. The Omaha community is fortunate to have many educational institutions, nonprofit entities and businesses dedicated to protecting our health.

National Public Health WeekLukas Partners client Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, for example, conducted research that identified obesity as the top public health issue affecting both children and adolescents in the Omaha metro area. Children’s responded by introducing the Healthy Kohl’s Kids program, a partnership between Children’s and Kohl’s Department Stores. Healthy Kohl’s Kids focuses on educating children and families about healthy eating and fitness habits by providing information and tools to help families make smart choices for healthy living.

Lukas Partners  also is proud to support the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health, the first accredited public health college between Iowa and Washington state, the. UNMC’s newest college brings together experts in a multitude of disciplines to find solutions and create pathways that promote health and prevent chronic disease conditions for Nebraskans and beyond. UNMC’s College of Public Health provides world-class instruction for students and practitioners in the field, creates new knowledge through innovative research programs, and prepares tomorrow’s public health leaders who will be on the front lines of federal, state and local health departments.

In addition, we help Nebraska Methodist College tell its story of preparing students to make positive impacts on the health and well-being of their communities. No matter what field, all healthcare professionals play vital roles in maintaining a high quality of public health through the treatments, tests, knowledge and expertise they provide. Nebraska Methodist College also works to improve public health in the greater Omaha community through the outreach of its Center for Health Partnerships, including programs such as the Mobile Diabetes Center and Our Families’ Health. The Mobile Diabetes Center provides important diabetes-related health screenings in a variety of urban and rural areas. Our Families’ Health works to provide area Latino communities easier access to healthcare resources and services.

News You Can Use

As an Omaha public relations firm, Lukas Partners continually scans recent news regarding public relations issues, fund development strategies and social media updates. We share news through our e-newsletter to help you stay current in the areas of public relations, fundraising and social engagement. If you would like to sign up for our newsletter, email

The Lukas Partners March e-newsletter focuses on how NASCAR could have avoided a PR pile-up with a good crisis communication plan. In addition the newsletter provides a link to the recent State of the Media report, issued by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The State of the Media report discusses how newsrooms and TV stations across the country are understaffed to cover stories. This underscores the point that having good relationships with the news media will help them and you get your story told. It is important to provide journalists with timely information that will appeal to their readers and viewers and to meet their deadlines as best you can.

Click here for the Lukas Partners newsletter that also covers our client Bank of the West’s workshop that reminds senior citizens to be aware of financial abuse. Ryan Sothan of the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office said identity theft of seniors in Nebraska has been a top complaint in the past year.  Stay tuned to American Public Media’s Marketplace Money program ( that will be featuring Financial Elder Abuse in an upcoming segment.

Omaha Panel Will Address Financial Crimes Targeting Seniors

Every day for the next 19 years, approximately 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 years old. As Omaha’s senior citizen population increases, so does the potential for financial fraud.  In fact, financial abuse is the third most commonly substantiated type of elder abuse, according to the National Council on Aging. While underreported, the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.6 billion.

Bank of the West, Legal Aid of Nebraska and other local partner organizations will help to shine a light on this growing concern by hosting a free consumer awareness seminar on elder financial abuse prevention. The workshop is specifically for people age 60 and older and will feature a discussion panel of community experts and resources. Discussion topics include common scams, signs of potential abuse, how thefts occur, the role of banks in protecting assets, abuse by the power of attorney and steps to take if abuse occurs.

Financial fraud is a seriously debilitating element in the lives of many seniors. Telemarketing scams, Medicare fraud, investor fraud and a host of new fraudulent practices related to the Internet are widespread. In almost 90 percent of the elder abuse and neglect incidents with a known perpetrator, the perpetrator is a family member while two-thirds of the perpetrators are adult children or spouses, the National Council on Aging reports.

The Elder Financial Protection Network notes that financial exploitation can take many forms, including calls from telemarketers selling worthless or nonexistent products, unscrupulous home repairs, pressuring an elder to give a “gift,” unfair or misleading home equity agreements, withholding portions of a check cashed for an elder and excessive fees for basic care.

If you know a senior who might be interested in this workshop, please share this information with him or her. Pre-registration is required.  To register, call 402-348-1069.

Be Aware: Financial Abuse Workshop
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Lake Point Building, Multi-Purpose Room
2401 Lake Street, Omaha
9 -10 a.m.
Free document shredding
10 a.m.-noon
Welcome, discussion panel of local experts (Bank of the West, Legal Aid of Nebraska, Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, State of Nebraska Adult Protective Services)
Noon-1 p.m.
Complimentary lunch

Lukas Partners at League of Municipalities conference

Lukas Partners was among the sponsors at the League of Nebraska Municipalities 2013 Midwinter Conference Feb. 25 and 26 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln. The League of Nebraska Municipalities honored former Sen. Ben Nelson and Rep. Tom Osborne with League Legacy Congressional Service Awards during Tuesday’s luncheon.Lukas Partners, PR, Public Relations, Fund Development

The League of Nebraska Municipalities’ mission is to represent the interests of member cities and villages to preserve local control and empower municipal officials to shape the destiny of their municipality and improve the quality of life for their residents. Lukas Partners salutes the members of this organization and the important work they do to create economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for Nebraskans.

We look forward to seeing our old friends and meeting new ones at the League of Nebraska Municipalities Annual Conference Oct. 9-11 at Embassy Suites in La Vista.

Page 16 of 17« First...10...1314151617