Talking with Michelle McCormick about Media Relations & the Hunger Task Force

On June 12, Michelle McCormack, former CBS 58 news anchor and now Individual Giving Manager of the Hunger Task Force, joined FBLP to provide tips on what to do and what to avoid when working with the media.

McCormick, who began her career in the newsroom in 1992 and was an anchor with CBS 58 from 2005 to 2018, had many insights to share regarding interacting with the media. She said the number one thing family businesses should remember is that when they are approached by the media, responding “no comment” is implying guilt. Therefore you should always have some sort of response regarding a media question. It might be simply stating, “I’m sorry this question is out of my area of expertise or is not something I can discuss because I have not been made aware of all of the details yet.”

Michelle also said you should always have a core message and talking points you want to address figured out before a media interview. By doing this if are asked a question you don’t feel comfortable responding to, you can simply bridge back your discussion with a reporter to your core message.

She said when pitching a story you should be able to paint a picture of the visuals that a view will see and be able to explain how the story will impact viewers. She added that if you get the reporter to cover the story be sure to use your social media accounts to promote the story before it runs and after the story runs be sure to post a link to it along with a shout out to the reporter on your social media as well.

Michelle then took a moment to share with the group her love of Irish music and talked about a music competition she will be part of in Ireland in August. She treated everyone to a beautiful Irish folk song that touched everyone.

Finally, Michelle talked about her new role as the Individual Giving Manager of the Hunger Task Force. She first explained how the Hunger Task Force started in 1974 as a group of parent advocates band together to fight for healthy, universal school breakfast within Milwaukee Public Schools. Then in 1982, Channel 12 hosted a food drive that collected 82 million pounds of food and they reached out to Hunger Task Force to help with the distribution of it and the first food bank was established. Today, Hunger Task Force has taken food banking to the next level, serving as the state’s primary administrator of several federal commodity programs, including The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplement Food Program (CSFP) or Stockbox for hungry seniors. They also still provide food to 80 pantries and have mobile markets where people can get food.

Michelle is most excited right now about The Hunger Task Force Farm, which is a unique 208-acre urban farm in Franklin. During the growing season, The Farm infuses half a million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables into Hunger Task Force’s food bank’s supply, enhancing the nutrition of those who normally rely on canned or nonperishable foods. The Farm grows peppers, tomatoes, corn, watermelon, beans, spinach, greens, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, pears and more.

Michelle talked about volunteer opportunities for individuals and businesses at the Farm and their other warehouse locations as well. She encourage people to learn more about The Farm and the Hunger Task Force at https://www.hungertaskforce.org.