What a world of difference there is in the way organizations handle problems when they are caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

While issues are often relatively minor from a national media standpoint, almost every organization encounters problems each year as they have public run-ins with the media.

When a company is just starting out, it will do almost anything to get press coverage. As the company matures, senior people are less available to, and have less time for, editors and reporters. Without working too hard, therefore, management and its representatives can cultivate a cadre of enemies within the press.

To do the task well, however, you should follow a set of 13 simple guidelines that will ensure that you alienate many, or most, of the Fourth Estate.

Please be assured that this is not intended to be a definitive list. With a little imagination, you can add your own guidelines.

1. Develop essential and non-essential media lists

In every industry, there are target market, secondary and tertiary publications. Set up your list, work only with the target market editors, and ignore inquiries from all other publications. Just because they're interested in your organization doesn't mean that they can do you any good or that you should waste your time working with them.

2. Put up roadblocks

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G. A. "Andy" Marken is president of Marken Communications Inc. (www.markencom.com). Reach him via andy@markencom.com.