Tags Posts tagged with "Media"

Media

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Retractions Corrections

So your food truck story made a local or national newspaper or magazine, but something in it is wrong. At least that’s how you may see it when something you’ve said has been used out of context. Or, perhaps there was a fact, date or name that was incorrect.

From time to time Mobile Cuisine individuals will ask if we will retract a story in which they have been quoted. It was out of context, they thought, or they feel it shows them in an unfavorable light. After reviewing the article (always keeping our readers best interests at heart in balance with media realities) we assess whether a retraction or even a correction is or is not appropriate.

It can happen to anyone

Remember that having your story appear in the newspaper has added value to you and your mobile food business. We, in the communications industry refer to it as, “earned media”, which means you earned the attention of the media outlet. A staff-generated story is not paid for, which means you have not paid (for advertising) to control the message. Usually you’ll be pleased with the story while there may be sometimes you’re simply not going to be happy. It’s inevitable.

Retraction, defined

Before we look at some helpful ways to manage an awkward situation, let’s define the meaning of a “retraction” (from the standpoint of the media). The dictionary defines retraction, in part: “withdraw or revoke (a statement or undertaking).” In other words, when asking the media for a retraction, it means they have to admit responsibility for any and all errors. It’s the means by which the media admits their mistake and takes back what they published so the public will see their error wasn’t purposeful.

Stepping back for a moment, let’s not confuse a “retraction” with a “correction.” Newspapers are usually willing to print corrections when the facts, as presented in the original story, are proven to be inaccurate. William Safire once wrote, “A ‘correction’ is a retraction without all the nervous groveling. It deals with facts rather than judgments; in journalistic usage, a ‘correction’ sets right an inaccuracy.”

What do editors think?

To no surprise most editors or news directors consider each request on a case-by-case basis. They publish corrections or clarifications only if they are able to verify that an article they’ve published contains information that is factually inaccurate.

In our unscientific research, retractions do not occur too often. Corrections, however, are more common due in part to our 24/7-news cycle and the social media culture. There is a tendency, especially if you’re a well-known member of the community who has a relationship with the reporter, to speak more informally during an interview and as a result, you may say something in a way that wasn’t intentional and could be taken out of context by the public.

Asking for a correction from a reporter who gets it wrong can be a tough assignment, but it must be done. Here’s some advice on how to ask and receive a correction:

  • Make sure your facts are correct. There’s nothing worse than bringing an error to light if you’re even a bit off the mark. Keep emotion and tone out of the request. Even if people are upset by an error, 99.9 percent of errors are made without intent.
  • Ask politely. Most reporters like to get their news straight up and without a twist. A good reporter will correct an error ASAP.
  • Track down all of the sources. If the original story with an error is picked up and shared by wire services, such as The Associated Press, or by news gathering partners, the original error continues to repeat in a variety of places. You need to track all sources down for corrections.
  • Be insistent. An error is an error. Placement, tone and where your quote lands in an article do not constitute an error. Be straightforward in your appeal and point out what makes the story off.
  • Take next steps if necessary. If you are unable to receive a correction as requested, make sure you understand your options and next steps.  That could mean requesting an op-ed piece in print or dealing with a much higher level contact at a news outlet.

Have you had a story misquote you or misspell your name or food truck? We’d love to know how you handled it…if you handled it at all.

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tip of the dayWhen pitching a story idea about your food truck or handling a crisis situation that your truck is involved in, it helps to have established good working relationships with reporters and news organizations in your area.

Follow these suggestions to get that ball rolling:

  • Establish working relationships with relevant outlets and business and food/food truck reporters. Learn their deadlines and broadcast schedules so that you can avoid calling at those times.
  • Be a good neighbor. Invite reporters for a meal at your food truck (on you, if their organization’s policies allow them to accept). Provide a copy of your press kit.
  • Attitude counts. When pitching a news story, be friendly and to the point. Focus on why your story idea would be of interest to their readers/viewers/listeners.
  • Quick turnaround is best. Respond to media inquiries in a timely manner; reporters are often on same-day deadlines.
  • Know your facts. This is particularly important when dealing with a sensitive topic or crisis situation. Find out what happened and know the story cold. Write the facts down to memorize them more easily. Identify confidential information that can’t be released.
  • Educate your team. Communicate with your employees so they know where you stand and why.
  • Centralize crisis communication. Designate one person to handle crisis communication so your story doesn’t get garbled.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Rehearse your story so you won’t stumble. Refer to written notes. Anticipate potential problems and questions, and have answers ready.
  • Avoid saying “no comment.” Don’t become defensive or hostile, and never repeat a negative accusation made against your restaurant.
  • Check for accuracy. Note any inaccuracies about your food truck business and correct them.
  • Respect a journalist’s role. Don’t ask to see the story before it runs – journalists prefer to retain editorial control.

If you are interested in having a story written about your food truck, you can submit press releases to admin@mobile-cuisine.com

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linkedin logo

Your LinkedIn profile page is your personal home page to the business world. To enhance your profile, log into your LinkedIn account, click Profile, choose Edit from the top-left navigation menu that appears, then follow these tips:

  • Create a customized URL.
  • Add as many past employers as you have had so the most amount of former co-workers can find you.
  • Make sure your professional headline emphasizes any keywords you want to use to promote yourself.
  • Make your profile public and set it to Full View so your LinkedIn profile will show up in Web search results.
  • Add links from your LinkedIn profile to Web sites you are trying to promote, like your blog, or company Web site.
  • For Web site links that you add to your profile, select Other and rename each link to include meaningful keywords, so instead of it saying “My Blog” it would say “My Food Truck Blog.”
  • Include all of your main e-mail addresses in your profile so people can connect with you. LinkedIn does not display your e-mail addresses to the public; they simply keep your e-mail addresses on file when someone tries to connect with you.
  • Fill out the Summary field of your profile with all of your critical skills and important career-related keywords, and be sure to fill out the Skills section with your skill list as well.
  • Add a professional photo to your profile.
  • Add a link to your LinkedIn profile in your e-mail signature file.

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In the mobile food industry, food critics can make you or break you. While a bad review could seriously damage your chances of attracting new customers, a good review can have new customers waiting hours just to get a sample of your fare.

Tips for Impressing a Food Truck Critic

1. Everyone is a potential food critic.

Food critics like to remain anonymous, so you may not know when one walks through up to your truck. Furthermore, with the increasing popularity of online review sites like YelpCitysearchDine.com and Google Reviews, any customer can become a food critic.

2. Do not over-coddle a critic.

There is nothing wrong with giving known food critics some special treatment, and if a recognized food critic eats at your food truck or cart, you could “check up” on them briefly during or after the meal if they stick around the area. But do not offer a free meal or extra menu items, and make sure that you do not bother a critic too much during their meal. If you seem to be trying too hard, food critics might think you are compensating for some deficiency. If they look around and see that others are not getting the same level of service, they may grow even more suspicious.

3. Let your food speak for itself.

You can try offering food critics your best dish, but do not try to convince a food critic that the food is better than it really is. The more you pressure someone, the more likely you will push them further away.

4. Be receptive to criticism.

If a food critic is eating at your mobile bistro and begins to critique or complain about the food, or service, graciously accept the criticism, and do anything in your power to fix the problem immediately. The worst thing you can do is become defensive. On the other hand, if you fix the problem, you may win some points with them for your superior customer service.

What Mobile Food Critics Consider

It is not just about the food. Mobile food critics will judge different aspects of your operation, so make sure to impress them in every area.

Taste

By far the most important element that the critic will judge is the taste of the food.

Technique

The more difficult the food is to make, the more likely it will impress a mobile food critic, as long as the taste lives up to the technique.

Presentation

The appearance of food can make or break a dish. If a meal looks unappetizing, it can even affect the way the taste is perceived.

Creativity

You can win extra points with a food critic by offering originality in your dishes, or your presentation even though if you typically serve in a plain brown wrapper, there isn’t much can do.

Service

Food truck critics will notice how much attention servers give customers, how quickly customers’ service expectations are met, how friendly the servers are and how knowledgeable the staff is about the food and drinks offered.

Value

Even if a critic enjoys a dish, if it is overpriced, your food truck or cart could receive a review that mentions outrageous pricing.

Cleanliness

While offering a clean dining area will probably not be enough on its own to get you a great review, any dirty aspects of your restaurant will probably earn you a bad review no matter what. Be sure that before you open your service window, the staff takes a little time to pick up the immediate area and make sure there is a garbage receptacle in place for your customers to discard their trash.

Meeting of Expectations

Food critics know that not every gourmet food truck is the same. They will have different expectations for different vendors. What a critic expects from your business has a lot to do with your selling proposition. Ask yourself what expectations are created by your branding and marketing concept, and make sure you fulfill them.

How to Recognize a Professional Mobile Food Critic

The best way to recognize a professional food critic is simply to keep up-to-date with the names and faces of local and regional reviewers, and make sure that the entire staff does so as well. However, food critics usually try to remain anonymous, and some will go to great lengths to do so, including wearing disguises or even using credit cards under a fake name. If you suspect someone might be a food critic, look for the following clues:

Note taking

Professional food critics will probably try to hide the notes they are taking. They may use a palm-size computer or cell phone, scribble on a napkin.

Photographing

If someone is using a camera or holding their cell phone close to the food, they may be trying to take pictures for an online or print review.

Careful Observation

If customers are paying very close attention to your trucks food or operations, they might be professional food critics. Even if they are not professional reviewers, their scrutiny suggests that they are picky customers, and they may even plan to write an online review or blog about your restaurant on wheels.

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