Generally those who have the most trouble trying to utilize the media are those that have no real idea how it works. Simply because someone is a celebrity, or head of state, and has been continually highlighted in the media, doesn’t mean he or she truly understands the inner workings of the press. Appearing in front of the camera day after day does not make one an expert in the process. Those who have had the most media coverage are often the ones that have the most naive or delusional take on how the media actually works.

Often when celebrities run into a damage control situation (such as the Charlie Sheen fiasco) they believe they are the story, where generally it’s the train wreck that’s the real story. They simply happen to be the ones driving that train. They eventually end up trying to put out fire with gasoline and their media and image problems only continue to grow.

It used to be that newspapers, magazines, along with network and cable TV, defined and shaped the stories we read or watched. We’re now in the world of citizen journalists and social media. Twitter or Facebook not only distribute information, now they become stories in and of themselves. For example, when Sarah Palin or Charlie Sheen posts a Tweet and you suddenly have a news story. But, as we’ve all seen, they don't necessarily control that story. Tweets and posts take on a life of their own and can often backfire.

Whereas many have tried to utilize the media for their own ends and have failed, there are cases where individuals have been able to achieve their ends. Howard Stern was certainly a master of utilizing the media. Those that are most successful, like Stern, generally have a media outlet where they can actively control the message if it starts to run amok. Glen Beck comes to mind. He has a nightly forum where he can shape his message. It’s much more difficult to control if you are outside of the media.

Yet we’ve all seen damage control scenarios where a celebrity or politician goes on the “right” shows to get his or her message across and then steps back. That can work. But it is getting more and more difficult now. Interacting with the media isn’t something that should be taken lightly. There are inherent dangers in carelessly playing the media game and being a celebrity or a “star”, does not immune you. In fact the bull’s-eye on your back is all the bigger.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Author's Bio: 

Anthony Mora Communications, Inc. is a Los Angeles-based public relations company that has placed clients in: Time, Newsweek, 60 Minutes, CNN, USA Today, Oprah,The New York Times, Vogue, and other media. Anthony has been featured in: USA Today, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The BBC, CNN,Fox News, and other media outlets.