There are 101 excuses for not writing or calling the media when you see unfair,
biased or inaccurate news coverage or have a burning issue you're passionate
"I don't know enough";
"I'm too busy";
"My computer crashed."
Communicating with journalists does makes a difference. There are a number of
avenues for reaching out to the media. Letters to the Editor (LTE) are the most
common. Papers receive thousands of LTE's annually; yet, on an average print less
than a dozen each day. If media outlets get letters from a dozen people raising the
same issue, they will most likely publish one or two of them. So even if your letter
doesn't get into print, it may help another one with a similar point of view get
Whenever you communicate with a journalist be factual, not rhetorical.
Press releases are important to your event. Use the press release for listings on the
event page and to get a reporter to write a story. With each contact you are building
a relationship with that news outlet. Overtime, the staff will call on you for comments
and referrals, prioritize your events and give your issue more ink if they respect you
as the messenger. Use your best business and interpersonal skills when dealing
with the media and don't call them about everything. Know who at a media outlet
covers events or issues like yours and address your comments to them.
Media outlets are directed by an Editorial Board. Our ambassadors can impact
your entire community by meeting with your Editorial Board.
When thinking about media, don't forget TV and radio. With the advent of 24 hour
cable news, shows are hungry for catchy stories and these national shows can't be
overlooked. Talk radio stations (public and satellite) have a lot of program hours to
fill and can often do interviews over the phone.