Getting Your Story Out
The News Release
The news or press release performs a number of functions. It can:
- Preview an event (usually in the form of a media advisory to editors and reporters)
- Report survey results, statistics, or other research findings
- Announce the launch of a community campaign
- Tell the story of citizens working together successfully
Here are some pointers for your next news release:
- Think Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How: the release should provide a quick overview of your key facts within the first paragraph
- Use your headline to grab the readers attention
- Be sure to include the release date and contact information
- Feature a compelling quote from a designated person summarizing the significance of your story.
- Keep it short: one page, double spaced if possible
- Proofread your story and check your facts
- Don't editorialize: except in quotes, try to avoid judgmental characterizations of what you're reporting
The News Conference/Media Event
Make sure you have:
- Hard news to report
- A noteworthy angle
- Other attractions for the media (e.g. celebrities or experts, good materials, or even coffee and danish tray)
Location, Location, Location:
- Television is a visual medium, so make sure to have interesting background to draw television cameras.
The Letter to the Editor/Op-Ed
- Most newspapers accept letters to the editor. They can commend the newspaper or reporter, offer additional perspective or information, or disagree with the opinions expressed.
- When a letter to the editor won't suffice, think about writing an op-ed article. (Op-ed means "opposite the editorial page"). You can develop arguments at greater length and comment on a variety of issues. Call the paper ahead of time to find out op-ed policies and requirements.