Actiontoolkit - Follow up - Media reports

The kinds of report that all sponsors like best are those published in newspapers or magazines. Those are the ones that the general public get to see! Do all you can to get a report in the media. We know that ways of doing this differ from country to country and culture to culture. In many developing countries, you have to pay the journalist and often the editor to cover your event and get anything printed. We do not encourage this practice. If money is to be spent, rather let it be spent to enhance the project and benefit the community rather than line the pockets of corrupt journalists! Africa scene

Remember: Media comes in many forms: newspapers; magazines; radio; TV; posters; brochures & hand-outs; church news-sheets; school magazines; community free papers etc. All are good for different purposes. If used effectively, the media can be a powerful tool, providing a cost effective method of: Raising awareness: Gaining mainstream support for your cause and, if you’re lucky, financial support: Engaging communities and encouraging participation: Putting pressure for change on governmental and higher bodies. But to be effective you need to take it seriously: Appoint a media officer in your team: Plan a media strategy with media invited to a pre-project announcement and briefing; on-going events and a post-project wrap-up and evaluation.

Contacting the media: As a rule, media centres are busy, quick-moving places. They want the best stories out there in the quickest time. They don’t waste time on anything that does not immediately catch their eye. So when you make contact, you need to be aware that you will only have one, very quick shot at selling your story. When you call a reporter, remember that you’re only one of dozens of people who will be pitching stories to him or her that day. So be creative, concise and informative, and stick to your topic! Even if you’ve sent material in advance, you can never assume reporters know what you’re talking about; so be prepared to
repeat information. The best way to ensure that your pitch will be quick, efficient and skillful is to practice it in advance. Make sure you practice and are prepared for different responses. Be ready to answer any questions that are fired at you!

How can you work your “hooks”?
'In an attempt to promote Fair Trade ideals in their University and city, students Lizzie and Alexis decided to organise a Fair Trade fashion show. They convinced one of the fashion lecturers to join the project and worked with their students’ union which agreed to host the show as the title event of their “Fair Trade Fortnight.” What angle did Lizzie and Alexis use to promote their event? As active Africa scene members of the university, Lizzie and Alexis highlighted to the University press office that they presented a good image of the university. As a result they received positive internal media and the university pushed their story to the local media. The girls made sure other Fair Trade promoters such as Oxfam and the Fair Trade Foundation were on board with their event. The presence of national advocates increased their media kudos and ensured that other organisations helped to promote the event.
Fair Trade Week - Lizzie and Alexis arranged their event to fit in with a national campaign week. This made the press more open to any news about the issue.
Student Unions - Students in the UK media are often portrayed as lazy and apathetic. The pair used this image and turned it around, portraying student interest in Fair Trade as symbolic of a transformation. They received national media attention by highlighting a long-running issue and screaming ‘look students are getting engaged again!’
Students - Lizzie and Alexis used their status as students to identify themselves with a specific group. They received student media attention by highlighting what “fellow” students were up to.'

Media DO’s and DONT’S!
Here are some tips to help you plan a slick and effective media campaign.
Really know your target audience. Think about and research the best ways of reaching them. Know your media and what interests them.If you are targeting a specific reporter,check out his/her style and write your pitch accordingly. Identify your hooks and be aware of what makes your story newsworthy.This may not be obvious so think carefully and be innovative and daring! Be prepared. Know your subject inside out.Have press releases available to send to them immediately any reporter expresses interest. Be persistent. Media centres are very busy places and things get forgotten,so don’t give up too soon.If a journalist said yes to you first time follow it up! Show your passion.If you have no confidence that your project makes an amazing story, who else will? Provide pictures especially when dealing with smaller media which lack the budget to obtain exciting pictures. It may be the image that secures your story. Always make sure your picture is interesting and of high quality.Small or grainy images are of no use and will make you look unprofessional. Get personal. Try to establish a link with a specific person and always remember to be polite and friendly whilst exuding confidence. Keep gathering media contacts.If one reporter is not interested,ask him/her to suggest others. Be aware of deadlines! After introducing yourself,your first question should be “Is this a good time for you?”

DON'T threaten them or get rude. Remember they are not obligated to write anything. DON'T forget local and regional media! Local media is far easier to get and has the benefit of reaching the people of your local community. DON'T Be sloppy. Make sure your press release is a tight piece of writing that doesn’t have spelling mistakes or typing errors! DON'T say“ thank you”as if the reporter did you a favour.Thank them for doing a good job in covering the story. Leave the subject line of the e-mail blank. Like your opening sentence on the phone, this is your chance to gain attention. So use it! DON'T get trampled on.If a reporter gives unfAfrica sceneair or negative media,call up and ask politely why? Then request the right of reply. DON'T push it.“No” means “No.” Most reporters will listen to you and know how to say they don’t want your story. If you receive an outright “no” don’t persist or pester. Rather thank them for their time, and ask if you can write or call them again in a few months if a new story “angle”comes up that might interest them. Try to avoid sending your press releases as an attachment.Many will not open attachments for fear of viruses. DON'T send a carbon copy of the e-mail to a number of news agencies! They will not even look at it.Rather tailor your copy according to its target. DON'T give up! If your approach isn’t working,use a different angle or approach alternative forms of media.
DON'T pitch to a reporter on a deadline! You are unlikely to get a positive response.

Press releases
Your press releases will vary dramatically depending on your project and the media you are targeting. However, below is a well-presented and well-written press release that should give you an idea of what you should be aiming for. Start with an arresting headline. Use visual aids to make your press release look attractive. Provide contact details. By showing links to high profile events, you will add kudos to your press release. Short paragraphs are more appealing and help you keep to the point. Draw out links to recent events the press my have reported on.

'Singapore Voice at World Youth Congress
10th August 2005
Singapore was represented at the World Youth Congress in Scotland by delegates Bernise Ang and Mahesh Rai.

The WYC Policy Document - a primary outcome of the Congress - was drafted by a drafting committee, on which Singaporean delegate Bernise Ang served as a representative for Asia and the Pacific.

The WYC policy document will be presented at the upcoming UN World Summit in New York next month, reviewing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Ms Ang emphasises, “The policy document represents a voice of today’s global youth and addresses how youth can and should be a major force in strategies for development.”

“ As such, this document needs to be referred to when our country delegation addresses the UN Summit next month,” urges Ms Ang.

“ In Singapore, many of us have the luxury of economic privilege. Let us use that privilege to join in the struggle to eliminate abject poverty in other parts of the world.”

Ms Ang remarks on Singapore youth: “Our youth is the largest untapped resource that has so much potential just waiting to be unleashed. Programs such as the Youth Expedition Project of the Singapore International Foundation have demonstrated the capability of our youth to shine as leaders.”

“ Back home, the sheer volunteer strength in CDC initiatives such as the recent Taman Jurong Painting Competition reveals the energy and desire of our youth to make a difference in our communities."

"The concept of youth participation can be so much more meaningfully realised in structures where youth can be more effectively involved not just in implementation (as volunteers) or consultation, but also in significant decision-making capacities.”

Media enquiries:
Bernise Ang phone number, e-mail address'
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