Attracting Media Coverage
This material has been adapted with permission from a guide originally prepared by Oxfam Australia to assist people to raise media awareness about their community events. The adaptation was made mainly by the State Facilitating Group for Anti-Poverty Week in Queensland. Many of the suggestions apply to an ambitious activity aiming at extensive media coverage. But smaller activities are also a very welcome and important part of Anti-Poverty Week.
You can download this media guide as a Pdf to share and print.
1. Preparing A Media Release
The first step is to prepare a media release that summarises the key points about your activity, and explains Anti-Poverty Week. We have prepared a draft media release template which you can adapt.
When inserting information into this template, make sure you include and consider the following:
- Key information: The first paragraph should include the 'who, what, when, where and why' of your activity.
- Quotes: Include a quote from a spokesperson, such as the head of your organisation or the main organiser of your activity.
- Make it different: As well as providing key information, your media release should show the journalist why your activity is unique and newsworthy.
- Short, simple and clear: Media releases should use clear language, rarely be more than one page, and usually have at most two sentences per paragraph.
2. Selecting Media
Now that you have prepared a media release, think about the media publications and journalists who will be interested in your activity.
Some things to consider are:
- Do you have existing resources? Be sure to have news items in your own organisation's newsletters, website, intranet, and other channels of communication.
- Where is your activity taking place? Community activities are of most interest to local media, so make note of the publications that are distributed in the area where your activity is taking place.
- What type of activity is it? Journalists have briefs to cover particular areas, so do some research and find the names of journalists who cover community issues. You may also like to contact journalists who write stories about your particular sector, e.g. sports writers, education writers, etc.
3. Contacting Media
Now that you have put together a list of media publications and some particular journalists, you are ready to contact media.
Find the contact telephone number for the publication's news desk. This can usually be found on their website, or in the White Pages. Call the news desk. If you know the name of a particular journalist that you would like to speak to, ask to speak to them. If not, say something along the lines of:
"Hi, this is Jane calling from Peachgrove Primary School. It's Anti-Poverty Week next week and over 300 of our students will attend a breakfast to bring recognition to people living in poverty and hardship. Members of Peachgrove Council are attending a special assembly and there will also be a 20 metre banner across the front of the school. I'm calling because I thought this would be of interest to the Peachgrove Times."
Introduce yourself, and outline the key points that make your activity interesting. For example, the banner will be of interest to a journalist as it provides a possible photo-opportunity. When speaking to the journalist, you should have at hand:
- A copy of the media release. You should offer to send this to them, either by email or fax.
- Contact details of someone they can interview, who will be able to speak about the activity. This can either be you, the main organiser, or the head of the organisation taking part.
- Name and mobile telephone number for someone who the journalist or photographer can contact, should they wish to attend the activity.
4. At The Event
Assign someone at your activity to look after any journalist or photographers who may attend.
You should also assign another person to take photographs of the activity, record any speeches that take place, and get quotes from some of the attendees.
5. After the event
Many journalists will have been unable to attend the activity, but may still be interested in receiving information about it.
Select the best images from the activity, and put together some quotes from the speeches and participants. Contact any journalists who expressed interest earlier, and send these additional materials to them. Try to gauge the likelihood that they will feature the story in their next edition.
- Written a short, concise media release that provides an overview of your activity and the significance of Anti-Poverty Week?
- Developed a list of publications and contacts that would be interested?
- Called each of them and sent them the media release?
- Appointed a spokesperson who can complete interviews about the activity?
- Appointed a contact person for any journalists or photographers who attend the activity?
- Appointed someone to take photographs of the activity, and obtain quotes from participants?
- Sent these to any journalists who were interested in the activity, but were unable to attend?