In the early morning hours of July 5, people in a Phoenix neighborhood began calling 911. They witnessed several kids lighting grass and trees on fire. All within an hour, more than 100 fire fighters found themselves putting out flames at several hot spots in the same neighborhood. On fire: a vacant apartment building, a carport and a few cars.
By noon, several live trucks were parked in the area as reporters talked about police detaining several young kids. This was more than breaking news for local media. This was an opportunity for PR pros.
The vacant apartment complex is one of several buildings the City of Phoenix purchased to renovate. Do renovation projects such as this typically improve a neighborhood? Do you have a client/expert who could speak about this?
The apartment complex included an old-type attic that poses extra risks and challenges for firefighters. Do you have a client who can talk about old buildings or how firefighters train for such situations?
Police took six kids to juvenile detention. What were these kids doing out before five in the morning? Where is their family structure? What hope do they have of turning things around and leading productive lives? Maybe you have clients in the medical or social services field who would speak to these issues.
After the media initially reports the “nuts and bolts” of the news, they often are open to sidebar stories like those suggested above. These stories allow media to tell different angles in their nightly newscasts especially if they want to continue to discuss a big story from earlier in the day.
But when breaking news flares up, you must be quick. Today’s breaking news might be tomorrow’s old news. However, sometimes the simplest of stories, like a local fire, can open a door of opportunity. Do you have examples to share? We’d love to hear them.