Malala holds a press conference

What is a press conference?

Do you have something important to say and do you want as many people as possible to get the information quickly? Then do what pop stars and politicians do: invite the media to a press conference and get their help in spreading the message.

A press conference can be about anything from the premiere of a new film, to an accident that has taken place. You've probably seen or heard coverage from press conferences on the news, or read about them online or in a newspaper. The people announcing the news usually sit right at the front, often on a small stage. Journalists and photographers make up the 'audience' and ask questions. Photographers and camera operators move around the room to get the best pictures.

So what happens?

The press conference normally starts with those who are running it giving a brief presentation. There is often a slide show or a short film. After the presentation, the journalists are usually given the opportunity to ask questions. Sometimes they may also want to do individual interviews once the press conference is over.

Journalists often work to tight deadlines for a news broadcast or newspaper. That's why a press conference rarely lasts for more than half an hour, and is never longer than an hour. But sometimes a few journalists will stay behind to conduct individual interviews with those holding the press conference.

How do the media find out that there's going to be a press conference?

The people organizing the press conference send out invitations to the media. They often call to check that the invitation has arrived. The invitation almost always says that the journalists must register, so those organizing the press conference know how many to expect.

Where is a press conference held?

A press conference can be held anywhere. Indoors or outdoors, at a playground, in a castle or in a school dining hall. But since journalists are often short on time, it shouldn't be too complicated or take too long to get to the press conference (their workplaces are often close to town centres). They may not have time (or make the effort) to get there, even if they're interested.


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