Although Election Day is more than 18 months away, the 2016 Presidential campaign season is well underway. Reporters and producers are already scrutinizing every statement, expression, gesture, and action a candidate makes.

To control the message, political candidates must monitor the news in real-time and in all markets. The White House, members of Congress, and many government agencies know how news events can upend their plans, which is why they use services like TVEyes to track news events and keep their messaging consistent and persistent.

But broadcast monitoring is also an invaluable tool for political candidates. The news cycle requires vigilance, and campaign managers who track issues, opponents, and media personalities will be in a better position to control their candidate’s messages.

Here are just a few of the ways political campaigns can use broadcast monitoring in the upcoming election season.

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It’s tough to be a celebrity, politician, business leader, or journalist in the age of television and the Internet. Make a mistake or a slip of the tongue, and your error could be ricocheting through social media in seconds. And the talking heads will be, well, talking about you on the local morning shows and nightly newscasts.

This year alone, the list of recent slips and trips is long and infamous: Brian Williams, Keith Olbermann, Patricia Arquette, Kanye West – all had to defend, explain, apologize for, or walk-back statements they made.

And it’s not just individuals. Silicon Valley’s favorite unicorn, Uber, had to explain why one of its executives was interested in digging up dirt on journalists. The slip sent the company into a PR tailspin.

CNN’s afternoon anchor Brooke Baldwin apologized after she put the blame for policing problems on military veterans returning home from war. A day later, she went on the air, admitted her words were a mistake, and apologized.

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos also issued apologies. Not for what was said, but for what wasn’t said. He failed to disclose a $75,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation when reporting on Hillary Clinton or the nonprofit. Because journalists are expected to remain neutral in reporting, the omission raised issues about trust.

Slips and omissions, if not handled correctly, can damage a reputation. But crisis management experts generally agree the best way to handle such a situation is by issuing a heartfelt apology. Nearly all of those mentioned above handled their missteps with an apology. Yet some were more successful than others.

Public apologies can be tough. What does it take to express a convincing regret? To avoid sounding insincere or being accused of issuing a “non-apology” apology, follow these steps.

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No one likes a surprise, least of all the CEO. If there’s an issue with serious consequences for his company, he needs to know far in advance what it is and how you’re going to deal with it.

Senior PR pros know they need to stay on top of emerging trends and changes in the socio-political environment. A single issue can bubble up in the most unexpected places and impact many industries and organizations of all sizes.

For example, demands for a higher minimum wage by workers at a local fast-food restaurant can cause a ripple effect, eventually reaching giant retailers like Wal-Mart. Likewise, the USDA’s new dietary guidelines can create an impact on stakeholders as disparate as regional school districts and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Today’s media landscape is more complicated than ever before. Television remains the single most influential medium, and it reaches deep into local communities. And consumers and activists now have a powerful platform for propagating their ideas and opinions through social media. These media worlds often intertwine, feeding each other.

This makes identifying and planning for potential crises an ongoing responsibility, and one that is increasingly difficult in a very noisy and rapidly changing world.

The process for issues management can be broken down into five steps.

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Broadcast monitoring underpins every stage of the client life cycle and is a competitive differentiator for your agency.

When you are on top of the developing news in the industries in which they specialize, when you are actively on the lookout for organizations you can help, you will find and reach potential clients.

When you prove you’re knowledgeable about your prospective client, its business, and the media environment in which it operates, you’ll win the business. When you develop smart campaigns, provide well-thought-out advice, and develop communications programs that help your client stand out among the competition, you create strong and trusting relationships.

When you bring new ideas to the table, are proactive in warning about potential hot spots, and help clients avert crises, you’re likely to be viewed as valuable partners and thus indispensable.

When you consistently produce exceptional results, clients will recommend you to others – over and over again.

Broadcast monitoring enriches your relationship with your client by providing the qualitative and quantitative data that informs strategy, improves performance, and enables quick thinking and quick action. With it, you’ll set your agency apart from the competition and achieve your goals: to find and win new business, and to deliver exceptional results that turn clients into evangelists.

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There isn’t a single organization that isn’t unnerved by the latest data security hack. When millions of credit card numbers are stolen or employee data are thrown into the open, every department will find they have a stake in what happens next.

Sometimes, simply the perception of a weakness can create a cascading impact. The PR team will jump into action when shows like 60 minutes point out security flaws, but executives, product development, sales, marketing and IT will quickly follow and take steps to seize opportunities or mitigate damage.

Keeping ahead of the latest news and investigative reports and how they reverberate in local markets can help your organization react in real time. However, it’s impossible to track every market without incorporating broadcast monitoring into your media-tracking program.

Because of its comprehensive, local coverage, broadcast monitoring provides a more reliable picture of what the media are saying and how it’s influencing your audience.

Executives and functional groups outside the public relations office may not be aware of the impact broadcast monitoring can have on setting business strategy, mitigating risk, and seizing competitive advantage.

We’re pleased to offer a free playbook to help explain the advantages of broadcast monitoring across the enterprise.

Our free playbook provides samples of how broadcast monitoring can be used for:

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Since early January, more than 150 cases of measles have been reported in the United States. Measles was declared eradicated in 2000, so the outbreak has raised concerns among health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors, parents, schools, and the public in general. Thus, this is a major news story in every national and local media outlet.

But this public health issue also isn’t without controversy.

Most of those who came down with the measles were unvaccinated, putting the media spotlight on the anti-vaccination movement and the families who choose not to vaccinate their children.

The seriousness of the health threat and the ensuing controversy have generated a significant increase in broadcast news reports on the topic. Since the outbreak was announced on Jan. 7, there have been more than 50,500 mentions of it on broadcast news, and a surge in discussion about vaccinations. During the first week of January, there were just 678 TV news clips that mentioned vaccinations. But after the outbreak, that number climbed to more than 31,000 by the end of February.

For the CDC and state health officials around the country, keeping up with the proliferating broadcasts and reacting when required is challenging, but very essential to halting the outbreak. Vaccine manufacturers also must be attuned to the conversation so they can manage both financial and reputational risk effectively. Activists have an interest in what’s reported because they want to advance their cause.

The task is complicated not only by the increase in coverage, but also because television is highly influential. This significantly raises the stakes for everyone involved.

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The Investor Relations Officer (IRO) is a critical communications link between a publicly traded company and the analysts, investors, and activists who take an interest in the organization. The IRO is responsible for communicating news and earnings as well as educating and engaging each of these stakeholders in an open dialogue.

But IROs also must adhere to Securities and Exchange regulations. One of the best known and most notable is Regulation FD (“RegFD”), which requires that material nonpublic information be broadly communicated to ensure that all stakeholders receive the same information at the same time.

To comply with the law, the IRO must be vigilant in the disclosure of material nonpublic information to analysts and the media. While the regulation applies mainly to comments by directors, executive officers and investor relations personnel, IROs also need to be aware of what other employees say at trade shows, conferences, and to the media.

In addition, after a disclosure or during a crisis, the IRO must keep executives and the company’s board up to date on any reaction, comments, or feedback to news about the company.

Broadcast monitoring plays an important and essential role in helping IROs with these responsibilities. As a best practice, IROs should monitor all commentary by employees, analysts, investors, and activists.

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I’m particularly pleased and proud to announce the promotion of Dan Miles to a newly created position as our chief operating officer. Together with Dan, we’ve forged a more resilient and scalable TVEyes that’s ready to take advantage of the enormous opportunities in front of us. As we continue to grow domestically and internationally, you’ll see the business planning and organizational and product strategies that Dan is leading revealed in future announcements. 

Dan is an unusual executive in many positive ways. He’s analytical and creative, empathic and decisive, and practical and strategic. This multifaceted nature is central to his success as a change agent at TVEyes. While we are building process and scalability in how we run our business he’s also gaining consensus and motivating new ways of working at what was already a successful business.

The old saying, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” could have applied to TVEyes if we were satisfied with the status quo.  But we’re not. Our mission is to make the world’s television and radio broadcasts as searchable as text, and then make that information useful to our clients in ways that are still being innovated 15 years since we launched the first Web-based broadcast monitoring system.

You can read the news release on PR Newswire.

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Information spreads at warp-speed. It travels near-simultaneously through traditional media outlets and social media. Along the way, many people can share and comment on your news, creating a higher risk of your message being distorted, your words taken out of context, or false information being spread.

Breaking news events are particularly susceptible to this phenomenon. There are many reasons that mistakes happen. There’s the initial rush to report the news, the “unofficial” commentary, confused bystander reports, and simple human error. In the past, such mistakes had limited reach, as they were generally stuck on paper or gone once broadcast. Today, however, social media can amplify the error – and in a fast and furious way.

When the media get information wrong, it can have serious repercussions for many types of organizations. For example, during a dangerous event – such as a bombing or a natural disaster – misinformation can hinder police as they try to keep the public safe. Correcting each and every instance of misinformation becomes both paramount and a daunting task. 

Similarly, food companies with recalls have an imperative to get the word out to as many people in a community as possible. But there’s no guarantee their news might make the local nightly news broadcast in areas most affected by the recall. No news isn’t always good news.

How do you halt the spread of misinformation?

Here are six ways you can ensure the media have the correct facts and are relaying your messages accurately.

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No organization operates in a vacuum, as every business and PR executive knows. External forces can quickly influence business strategy or put a brand’s reputation at risk. That’s why the monitoring of trends and emerging issues is essential, especially for businesses that operate globally or across multiple regions. By knowing what is being said on TV or radio, businesses will be aware of changes in consumer perception and behavior.

For example, airlines, automotive manufacturers, and travel businesses  are all susceptible to shifts in commodity pricing, disruptive events, or changing market conditions. A case in point is the potential impact of the price of oil, which has dropped quickly since July 2014. Some analysts are predicting the price of crude may fall further yet, to a low of $30 a barrel.

This is a boon for consumers looking to fill their gas tanks cheaply or hoping to find deals on other goods. But for the airline, automobile, and travel industries, the falling price of oil opens up new opportunities at the same time it presents new risks.

But by keeping a close eye on shifting public opinion,  business executives can make timely adjustments to their strategic plans. And PR executives can  manage perceptions by correcting misinformation quickly.

Television news is the dominant way Americans get their news, according to the Pew Research Center, and most people turn to local broadcasts. For industries with customers in local markets around the globe, it’s vitally important to understand exactly how issues are playing out in every region on TV.

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