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approach the press? Think of the media as a megaphone to make your voice
louder. It can help lots of people to hear what you have to say.
before you approach the media, be clear about what you want to say and what you
want to achieve. It could be to:
stations, newspapers and their websites are the fastest way to get that message
to thousands of people in your area.
Are they interested?
worry that your event may not be ‘newsy’ enough. As a very famous journalist
once said - “News is people.” People are
naturally interested in what other people are doing.
local papers are eager for copy. They have lots of pages to fill and a small
number of reporters. If you provide them with a story it’s one less they need
to find for themselves.
are also very keen on things they can photograph. A picture paints a thousand
words but it also fills a chunk of space on the page that doesn’t then have to
be filled with writing!
same is true for radio stations, which broadcast 24 hours a day. While commercial
stations fill most of that time with music, your local BBC station is mainly
speech. They need things to talk about and people to talk to! In all cases, the
key is to make it easy for the
got a clear, simple message. Now you need to communicate it to the media.
start with, a press release may be best.
Writing a press release allows you time to gather your thoughts, to work out
what your message is and to put it down clearly. There’s also less chance of
forgetting important details like when and where your event is or your contact
number is very important. If the reporter does have questions they need to get
hold of you and get the answers quickly.
make it easy for them and be available. If you don’t answer the
phone when they ring, you may miss the chance to get your event covered.
local newspapers will have a reporter whose duties include gathering stories
from your specific area. If so, then try and get yourself in their ‘contact
book’. It’ll make life easier for both of you in the future.
call to the switchboard should be enough to find out if you have a local
reporter and get you their name, email and/or phone number.
Template press releases
A template press release can be downloaded here to use and/or adapt.
are here to help get you started. They are in format newspapers and radio
stations are used to and will help to get your release read.
no template can fit all situations, so feel free to change the words to better
suit your event or alter the quotes – it’s coming from you after all.
you’re feeling a bit more confident, you could try calling or emailing a
reporter direct without the ‘crutch’ of a press release. Again, before you call
or email just take a moment to be clear about what you are going to say.
my name’s xxx and I’m calling from a community group in xxx. I understand you
cover that area?”
I’ve got a story / event you might be interested in.”
and be nice. Remember, reporters are people too and journalism works largely on
relationships. If the reporter sees you as a reliable source of pictures and
stories then you’ll soon find yourself in their contact book and you may even
find they’re ringing you!
must give reporters and photographers enough time to cover your story and help you
achieve your aims.
local newspapers are weekly – find out
what day they go to print and what day they need to have your press release
for it to stand a chance of appearing.
you want people to come and help at an event there is no point sending in a
release about it on the day it happens. Nor is there any point sending it to
the paper on a Thursday if they go to print on Wednesday!
daily papers need time, especially if you want them to send a photographer
are few in number and there are many demands on them. Photo diaries get filled
so, if you want the best chance of getting a photographer along to your event,
you need to give plenty of notice. You also need to include details about when
and where they can go to get a good picture and who they can talk to when they
get there. Make it easy!
Help if you need it
you are unsure about anything at all then please pick up the phone to your WatersideCare
Project Officer. They will be able to give you advice about what works and what
hope this short guide is a help. Remember though, you know your group, your area
and what you’re up to.
be confident, be clear and make it easy
and you’ll soon be getting the media coverage you deserve.
Keep Britain Tidy is a registered Charity No. 1071737. Registered as a Company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No. 3496361. Registered office at Elizabeth House, The Pier, Wigan, WN3 4EX.
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