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New on the Bookshelf

By Lynn Fenske

Allan Bonner, the crisis guru (see his Sources listing) recently updated his book Doing and Saying the Right Thing (Sextant Publishing, 2004, 135 pp., ISBN 0-9731134-1-3). This is the book in which he first introduced his trademark acronym SOCKO (Strategic, Overriding, Communication, Knowledge, Objective) as a powerful communications tool for capitalizing on the mere eight seconds devoted to the average news sound bite. Allan has enhanced the original by adding a highly relevant epilogue about crisis management in our post 9/11 "risk society". This book is a must for any media spokesperson, particularly those navigating rough communications waters. To purchase, contact the author at his Web site

Guide to Media Relations by Irv Schenkler and Tony Herrling is from the Prentice Hall Series in Advanced Business Communications (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, 124 pp., ISBN 0-13-140567-5). It's exactly what a busy communications practitioner needs - a quick, concise reference book, not too long and not too simplistic, just a practical, reader-friendly guide to media relations. Written for both novice and seasoned professional, this book summarizes key concepts while offering clear, straightforward tools for maximizing media coverage. The five main topics covered are; setting media strategy, developing proactive media relations, responding to media calls, dealing with financial media relations (specifically, how to issue financial news) and handling the media in a crisis.

How to Make the Most of Every Media Appearance (McGraw-Hill, 2004, 200 pp., ISBN 0-07-141671-4) provides media training for the famous and infamous, from the perspective of an Emmy-award winning television producer. As executive producer of "Good Morning America", "The CBS Morning News", "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Dick Cavett Show", author George Merlis has learned a thing or two about mastering the media. While his tone is very showbiz and very Hollywood, with lots of celebrity references, his advice for handling interviews is undeniably first-rate. This book is especially relevant for anyone involved in sports, entertainment or high profile litigation. Chapter 7, entitled "Bushwacked: How to Survive an Ambush Interview and Win a Shoutfest" is a particularly interesting and informative read. You may not be facing an antagonistic scrum but don't let that stop you from learning the techniques of diffusing an on-air attack or, as Chapter 11 suggests, getting ready for your fifteen minutes of fame.

Index of Book Reviews