Making the News: A guide to getting the media’s attention

| March-April 2009

  • Making the News

    image by J. Alex Stamos

  • Making the News

If you’ve ever been passionate about an issue or a campaign, then you’ve also disagreed—passionately—with how that issue was (or wasn’t) handled by reporters. It’s tempting to simply throw up your arms and blame it all on the sorry state of the media. But there are two sides to every story, and active citizens must school themselves on how to attract attention, and never, ever forfeit the power of the press. Here, then, is a 10-step primer from a media expert on how to help get you or your cause noticed, on your terms. —The Editors

1. Have a clear message.
Decide what you are calling for and keep repeating it clearly and concisely. Don’t dilute strong arguments by going off on tangents or harping on trivialities. Relate your cause to everyday concerns. For example, if you’re campaigning for ethical investment, point out that it is financially viable and has a positive effect on the world. If you speak calmly and appeal to common understandings, radical ideas can appear not only sensible but even obvious.

2. Make media a priority.
Effective campaigning means making media engagement a priority. I have often seen activists organize an event and then think about promoting it to the media. Put media at the center of your planning from the beginning.

3. Offer news.
Something is news only if it is new. Discussions of opinions are not news—but you can make them news. When the University of London Union campaigned on fair trade, they couldn’t make headlines simply by repeating its benefits. But by conducting a survey that showed that London students were among Britain’s most enthusiastic fair trade buyers, they made a good news story. Don’t forget to be imaginative!

4. Watch your timing.
If you are aiming for a weekly paper that goes to print on Tuesday afternoon, don’t hold an event on Tuesday evening. Be where journalists are, both literally and metaphorically. It’s difficult to get journalists to come to a protest outside a company’s offices, but if you demonstrate outside the company’s big annual meeting, business correspondents will already be there. Contact them in advance and there’s a good chance they’ll come over to speak with you.

5. Talk to journalists.
It sounds obvious, but it is often overlooked. Issue a news release when you act or respond to events, but don’t rely on the release alone. Get on the phone with the journalists who have received it. Be concise and brace yourself for disappointments—most of them will not be interested. But chances are you will find someone who wants to know more eventually.

Tina Gomez
9/23/2019 4:40:22 PM

I have had t wo hip replacements and almost died. Outcome.. Conflict of interest. I was also electrocuted by a heating pad. I was lied to by the Judge. I am trying to find the communication from the FCC to prove that she lied to me. I also found out that the Lawyers were colluding and they asked the courts for a withdrawal and it was granted after I refused a $1,000 offer from the Lawyer who has no business making an offer. That's up to the insurance company. I'm very upset after almost dying. Then in 2008 I was electrocuted by a heating pad, sustained a third degree burn, three strokes. They never sent me a letter or email stating that my case was over I 2018. The secretary of the Judge said she sent me an email and didn't even have my right email address of which I wrote the courts and gave them. The email address she repeated to me was the wrong address. Please contact me at 727 241 1767. I'm positive other African Americans are/is having being lied to and mislead. This needs to be given attention and something needs to be done. Please help! Ms. Gomez

9/10/2019 4:35:30 AM

Someone please direct me who I can call I'm very upset I'm sure I was poisoned have numb hands n feet cramps kidney stomach pain dry mouth sweating taste in my mouth spit is foamy I need someone to please direct me who I can call as the hospital and responsible parties are connected.

9/6/2019 7:43:26 AM

I've shared my thoughts twice now, and they dissapeared. Is it because I'm talking about the government trying to kill me? Is that what you're afraid of? I'm trying to save my own life and you rip my message down? Be scared. You should be. Its not gonna stop with me.

Facebook Instagram Twitter

click me