Why media relations is a must-have skill for today's municipal leaders


Municipal leaders, particularly mayors, have been in the headlines in Canada over the past few years for a wide variety of reasons - some positive and others, well, not so much. Toronto mayor Rob Ford takes the prize for the sheer amount of media coverage, but virtually all of that media coverage was negative. Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum and Laval mayor Alexandre Duplessis both resigned after being linked to scandals. This past summer, Stephane Gendron, the mayor of Huntingdon, Quebec, made headlines after saying he enjoyed killing stray cats in his spare time.

And on the positive side of the media relations ledger, in the wake of the Calgary floods, mayor Naheed Nenshi put his exceptional media relations and social media skills on display as he helped the residents and business people of that city deal with that crisis.

Then, of course, there are the thousands of municipal figures quoted in articles each day across Canada. Stories about funding cuts, water main breaks, infrastructure projects, ribbon cuttings, sod-turnings and much, much more. 

When you're in a position of leadership, whether it's in business or within the community, you need to know how to deal with the media. It's that simple. The media is an important and powerful filter through which you can communicate with your target audience - but only if you know what you're doing. 

I shared what I consider to be five of the most important media relations tips in an article titled, The Art of the Great Media Interview in the December 2013 issue of Municipal World Magazine