Getting Media to Cover Your Event
Contributing to the news is one important way you can affect public policy and corporate decision-making. If consumers and the public are concerned about an issue—decision makers will be as well. Getting media to come to your events isn't as hard as you might think it is. All you need is a short media advisory, and the time to make a few phone calls. Here's how:
- Write your media advisory. A media advisory is a one-page, short notice about your event. It should contain 5 main components: What: one sentence saying what your event is; Where and When: the date, time, and location of your event; Why: This should be short, one-to-two paragraphs, about why you are holding this event; and finally Who: be sure at the end to include your name and contact information so the reporter can call or email you to ask for more details.
- Send your advisory to your local media. You can usually find email or fax numbers for your local radio stations and newspapers on their websites. Look for the number for the main newsroom. If your event will look dramatic, don't forget to call your local television stations as well. Be sure to send your advisory out one-week ahead of time to give reporters time to get your event onto their busy schedules.
- Make follow-up phone calls. The day after you send your advisory, you should follow-up with the reporters you sent your advisory to. The best time to reach reporters is between 3:00 and 5:00 pm. Review the advisory and have it in front of your when making your calls. Here's a sample call:
Hi, I am [your name], a resident of [name your town] and I'd like to let you know about a potential news event that I thought might interest you. Do you have a brief second to talk? [If the reporter is on a deadline, they may not be able to speak to you just then. Ask them when a better time would be for you to call back. Then be sure to call them back at that time!]
On [date and time], I will be / a group of concerned citizens will be [enter the details of your event here. Include what you're doing, why, and what you hope the outcome will be. For example:] delivering hundreds of letters to John Doe, the local auto dealer who is one of 10 dealership plaintiffs remaining in the controversial lawsuit against California's landmark law to reduce global warming emissions from vehicles. We are urging that he drop the lawsuit because as customers we want to be able to buy clean cars.
You are welcome to join us. I have sent you a media advisory but would be happy to send it to you again. Are you interested in covering this event? [If no, is there someone else at your station/paper who might be more interested?]
That's it! Now you're well on your way to ensuring your event is covered in your local media.