If you have an event coming up, or there is an issue you think it should be covered by the media, here are 10 tips prepared by Annette Jimenez and the team from El Mensajero Catolico that can help you work better with your local media:
- Contact us.
Whether through a phone call, e-mail or text or social media, let us know about events, issues, people you think we should write about or how your company uniquely ties in to local or national trends.
- Provide adequate notice of an event but not too early.
Reporters’ schedules fluctuate a lot and other factors may affect our ability to cover an event. As a general rule, notify media about two weeks before an event you want covered.
- Include all pertinent information in a press release.
Provide the “5 W’s” – who, what, where, when, why and how – in press releases. If there’s a speaker, send a short bio. Please do not offer to write articles. You are reaching out to a news outlet because you trust those journalists to report and write about your event/issue.
- Do your research.
All media outlets have websites and social media pages that should tell you what their deadlines are and offer all the venues available to you for potential coverage.
- Print is not the only option. Utilize digital space i.e. websites.
Space is limited in most print publications so please understand if your event or story idea only runs online.
- Do not let media be an afterthought.
We want to be partners with your organizations. The more you communicate with media and provide adequate notice about events and stories, the better chance we can cover them.
- Know the mission of the media outlet you’re reaching out to.
Make sure that mission matches up with the message you’re trying to get out into the community.
- Cover all your bases.
Find out all sources available to send your news tips to including: editor, newsroom, calendar entry, link on site for shorter articles. Try to avoid sending information to a specific person in case there are staff changes.
- Don’t be discouraged if a news outlet can’t cover your event.
See if there is a place on its website where you can post a reader contribution such as a short description of your event or photos. Do not take it personally if your event gets bumped because of breaking news.
- Think like a media person.
We have deadlines, often small staffs and a lot of requests for coverage. Communication is mutually beneficial to our mission to inform the community. If you make our job easier, we’ll want to work with you more often.
About the Author
Annette Jimenez is a staff writer for Spanish-language monthly publication El Mensajero Católico, which provides coverage of the local Hispanic community in the Rochester, NY area. An award winning reporter, Annette develops story ideas and report in English/Spanish on a variety of issues including immigration, health, education, religion as well as human-interest features and profiles of community leaders.