17 Apr 2016 9:00 PMMike Bennett

It's been an interesting week and I've picked up plenty of material for my Monday Morning radio show between 9am and 12 Noon on Logan 101 (I know, unashamed plug but the self promotion police were on a break!) however, I have learned many things this week about the workings of today's news media here in Queensland. I was fortunate to be invited to spend a day with the 9 news team on the Gold coast so gladly took them up on the offer.

When I say invited, I actually mean I wore them down with a barrage of emails and they just gave in so it was more of a 'pity the pom day" than an invitation but I'll stick with my original version of events!

From the first call out at around 8.30 am it was obvious that things have changed dramatically in the couple of years since I was last in a newsroom back in the UK and now, citizen journalism and mobile phone footage from the public form an integral  part of a news bulletin.

There appears to be more 'mistrust' of the traditional media by members of the public than ever before with a reluctance to engage in 'on camera' interviews or even basic conversation about newsworthy events within the local area.

From car fires (the joy of a toxic relationship that didn't seem to want to go down the counselling route?) to police chases where the footage was captured by fixed cameras on police helicopters, the role of reporter and camera operator seems to be in danger of being replaced by free uploads from tablets, smartphones and social media pages.

How does this affect you and your business? Simple really. . .YOU can USE the media to ensure that YOUR message is heard!

Rather than wait for the story to break or for the calls to come to you, by taking a pro-active stance during a major incident you can actually manage the media and take a level of control over what's reported. By forming a relationship with the reporter, crew or video journalist, you'll be in a much better position when it come to releasing information from the official source. Will it stop speculation? No, probably not but, by ensuring that the media know you'll keep them up to date with the latest information on a regular basis, your reputation is much more likely to be protected than if you go down the "no comment" route.

That will give the press a free run and, if you really want to guarantee top story on the 6 o'clock news, just stick your hand in front of the lens when you say those words!

Should you really want to make friends and influence people you might think about offering an exclusive however. . . 

By appearing on one channel tonight and refusing to talk to the rest, how do you think the others will report YOUR incident? Doesn't really take a genius to work that out so, in a business related story, offer it to everyone and keep your messages consistent throughout. 

If you happen to film a koala stuck up a tree (for regional effect replace koala with cat!)or some low life setting fire to your next door neighbours caravan then feel free to offer your iPhone footage as an exclusive. . .

You might pick up $100 and have your name on the screen for 6 seconds!