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Telling Your Story Through the Media

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Presentation on theme: "Telling Your Story Through the Media"— Presentation transcript:

1 Telling Your Story Through the Media
Kathryn Reith, Lake Washington School District

2 Telling Your Story Through the Media
Today’s program will cover basic media relations, which means providing information to media outlets so they can cover your story. You do not have control over what they write or broadcast but you gain credibility when they say or write something about your school, program or students. It will cover proactive media relations, in which you initiate the story. Similar principles affect reactive or crisis media relations.

3 What is your goal? Your goal is to communicate with your group’s audience by getting a message/idea/information into publications/broadcasts/sites that will reach your audience and have a trusted third party tell your story The journalist’s goal is to tell a story that is relevant, interesting, timely, important, and newsworthy to their readers so they will keep reading and buying the newspaper, or watching/listening to the broadcast. The best way to reach your goal is to help them reach their goal. Then you can create a win-win situation.

4 What is your school/program/class goal?
Whenever you decide to do media relations, think about why you want to engage the media. Do you want to: Encourage specific behavior, like buying a product? Encourage attendance at an event? Encourage donations? Change attitudes? Whatever the reason, make sure it relates back to your goals.

5 Audience Who can help you reach your goal?
Who can reach the group who can reach your goal? Examples: If you want children to attend an event, they are your primary audience but their parents are an important secondary audience.

6 Messaging Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve with your media relations, think about what are the one or two things that people should know that would convince them to do or think what you want them to. If they read or hear this story, what is the one thing they should remember? Make sure that message relates back to the mission of your school/district/group.

7 Media relations: first, the media
Kinds of media, how they work and what that means for you Print: newspapers (daily and weekly), magazines, newsletters. Longer and more detailed stories, lead times may be longer. Radio: news, talk. Must be timely, must be something you can talk about. Television: news, magazine-type shows. Shorter lead times, must be visual, usually a very broad audience. Internet: web sites, blogs, newsletters. Can be instant, can reach very targeted audiences.

8 Media relations: reporters
Kinds of reporters and how they work and what that means for you News reporters: just the facts Beat reporters: the story must relate to their assigned subject area Feature reporters: less emphasis on timeliness, more on how-to, service or human interest stories Columnists: can (and must) give their opinion News analysts: reporters who place a specific breaking news story in a larger context, often historical or geographic

9 Media relations: the story
What makes a good story Timely – currently happening or marking a milestone Relevant to the media outlet’s audience Unique, new, different Human Clear and understandable More important than other potential stories or relating to current stories

10 Media relations, now the relations
Who do you call with which story Beat writer: if someone is assigned to a specific topic area, you may go directly to them Editor: if you aren’t sure who would cover a particular story, or there are several different approaches that could work, go to a section editor, such as the lifestyle editor at a newspaper Assignment desk: for local television news, this person needs to know about your story. There is a weekend assignment person who is usually around on Friday afternoon: catch them before the weekend begins for a Saturday or Sunday story. Radio or TV producer: for a specific show, the best route is often the producer. The talent may be more or less involved in choosing the stories. Web content producer

11 Media relations: the pitch
Know who you are talking to Know their publication/show/site Make it short and easy to understand: you’ve got one line to get their interest Make it relevant to their audience Make sure you include who, what, when, where and why.

12 Common Story Types Position your story as one of the following if it fits: First or only Trend Anniversary or milestone How-to Seasonal Review Preview Human interest Unique or wacky Policy/public interest

13 Media relations: tools for pitching
Media alert: for events or anything happening at a specific place and specific time. Includes basic who, what, when, where information. Press releases: written as a news story so that they could be simply run as is in a newspaper or magazine. Journalistic style must be used, with the most important information at the beginning. Backgrounder: provides more general background information on a subject

14 Guidelines for working with the media
Get the information to them early (see handout on lead times) Double, then triple check it (especially spelling of names!) Stay away from acronyms or jargon Know that whatever you say could end up in print or broadcast It’s okay not to know the answer to a question: tell them when you will get back with the information Keep the audience of their media outlet in mind at all times. Keep your organization’s purpose for this story or key message in mind at all times Expect that at some point you will be misquoted

15 Stewardship, or maintaining the relationship
Thank yous are always a good idea Don’t always call needing something If you can’t help them with a story, try to think of someone who could

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