Press conference at the GAVI Alliance pledging event. UK aid will help vaccinate a child in the developing world every two seconds for the next five years, the Prime Minister announced today. Over 80 million under-fives living in some of the poorest countries in the world will be vaccinated against killer diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea with the help of British aid as part of a broader collective effort. Opening a four-hour push to save lives hosted by David Cameron, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (President of Liberia) and Bill Gates (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), the Prime Minister called on other donors to dig deep in order to reach the target of vaccinating at least a quarter of a billion children in the next five years in order to save the lives of four million children.

It’s important to know when to hold a press conference. If you think that is the way to get your story to the media, nine times out of ten you’re going to be wrong. Although there are many types of press conferences, they are primarily utilized to give the media up-to-the-minute information on breaking news stories, or when a celebrity or well-known person is addressing a topical issue. Countless others are announced, but few receive any coverage. Breaking news stories and politically-oriented stories often work. But keep in mind, when you are asking the media to be at a certain place at a specific time to cover your story, the odds are against you. If you take that approach, your story then is being set on a very specific timeline and you’re competing with every other potential story in your city, the nation and ultimately, the world. If, from the media’s perspective, a more urgent or more ratings-worthy news story breaks at the same time – you’re out of luck.

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