When it comes to the PR world I'm a veteran player. As much as I hate to admit being a PR guy, I have been one for a very, very long time. I can remember when the only way I could be reached when I was the public relations assistant for the Philadelphia Wings in 1974 was by phone.
A call would come into the switchboard and it would be transferred to my eidxtension. By the time I was with the Philadelphia Flyers two years later I had my own direct dial number and an answering machine the size of a toaster oven on my desk at home which Bell of Pennsyalvania rented us that had remote retrieval. By the mid 80s cellular phones had arrived and I had one in my car and another, a Technophone, that I carried with me-and the $1000 a month phone bill that went with them.
Yes, back then, I was as connected as any person who was dealing with more than 35 media folks EVERY DAY and NIGHT. You see, my mentor, the late, great Sy Roseman, or as we called him during our era with the Wings, "the wily old veteran" had a rule. He instilled into me that "the media needs you when they need you, not only when you need them." That's why on any given day (or night) there were a string of calls to reporters, tv sports anchors, editors and producers where I was reporting game highlights, staying in touch, inviting a reporter to lunch, talking about the daily happenings, informing them about an upcoming media conference, event or just to "shoot the breeze." Some calls were even to ask "what sandwich do they want when they bring the TV crew to the local ice rink to cover a youth hockey clinic with the Flyers' players." -- (We always timed them to happen when the news crews would be working, usually between 5-630 PM as that guaranteed a live on camera remote)
Today, most media don't have the time to talk like they did back then, but they still do need to get answers to questions, bounce ideas or rumours off the PR person. Given all the challenges with email-spam, junk mail folders, time away from it while in meetings, or other distractions, tools like Twitter should be used. Listing a Twitter ID in your contact details in a news release would be step one. Some PR folks don't even list a phone number on releases, something I think is more about not being called by consumers than avoiding the media, but even on releases that just appear on media only sites, a number, and a warm body answering is what media relations still is about.
I'm sure there are other ideas on this, but being reachable. vs. being unreachable is the key. Let me know your thoughts.....