Along with the increased level of competition and excitement that comes with playing in the Little League® International Tournament comes an increase in media attention and interview requests for League Presidents, Tournament Directors, and District Administrators.
Here are five things to keep in mind when the flood of media requests and inquiries begin to come surrounding your local league, tournament, and district.
1. Identify A Spokesperson
The first step in handling a media request is to identify a spokesperson to handle all the inquiries. This person should be comfortable speaking with a variety of different media outlets, whether it be on camera, on the phone, or in person, and should have a strong knowledge of the organization and tournament. While many times it is the League President, Tournament Director, or District Administrator, it doesn’t necessary have to be. Finding a volunteer who has a public relations, communications, or media relations background is always a great option for your league or district.
2. Put Together Talking Points
Once your spokesperson is identified, create a list of talking points that you can always rely on when looking to tell a story and show the positive side of your event, especially if you find yourself in a tough situation. Some examples include:
- Importance of volunteers who help make the event possible
- Fun, safety, and well-being of all the kids is the priority
- The goal is to provide a memorable experience for the players, coaches, parents, volunteers, and fans
- If someone wants to help out or has any suggestions, be sure to sign up and volunteer for the league. There are plenty of ways to volunteer and don’t have to be as time consuming as many people think.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
One major misconception that people have is that you can’t ask questions from the media about the story they are working on. While you should always make sure to ask in a polite and professional manner, it is encouraged for you to ask the media member a few key questions to have a better understanding on what they are working on:
- What will the overall story be about?
- When and where will the story be published/air?
- What is the deadline for the story (if there is any research or information gathering needed)?
- Have you spoken to anyone else from our organization?
- Would they be able to provide any sample questions ahead of an interview?
*Please note, no Little League volunteer or player is ever required to speak to the media, and may decline to do so at any time.
4. Handling the Interview
Once the interview is set up, there a few things to keep in mind as you go through the interview process to ensure you are a strong reflection of your program and the organization as a whole.
- Dress professionally and/or in Little League branded apparel when possible
- Remain confident in what you are saying and look the reporter in the eyes when you speak
- If on camera, try to keep your body from swaying and moving around too much
- Remember it is okay to pause to think about an answer and gather your thoughts before speaking. Don’t force an answer that you might regret later on.
- Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. An answer of “I don’t know right now, but can find out and get back to you,” is always an acceptable answer. Just be sure to follow up.
- If asked about Little League International, the International Tournament as a whole, or any rules and regulations, encourage the reporter to direct those questions to Little League International.
*Please note, if a child participates in any interview, they must be accompanied by their parent and/or a manager/coach throughout the entire interview.
5. Follow Up
Once the interview is completed, it’s important to thank the reporter for their time and be sure to get their contact information to follow up later. Be sure to follow up with any information you may have promised to share, send a thank you email or thank them in person, and let them know you are available to help in the future to establish a positive relationship with the media outlet. Once the story has been published, be sure to take a look at the piece to ensure that everything is factual and if so, share the story from your league/district’s official social media platforms (if it is a positive story).
If you have any questions or concerns about a situation involving the media, feel free to email [email protected]. Additional information that can help members of the media with background and understanding of Little League Baseball and Softball can be found at LittleLeague.org/media, including a variety of resources such as the General Media Guide, Guidelines on the Appearance of Little Leaguers® in the Media, and more.