Working with the Media: A Guide for Volunteer Organizations and Commissions

Briefly explain the event and why it is important from a news angle.

Include a quote explaining the event’s importance, followed by credentials to establish the expertise of the person being quoted.

As a general rule, try to keep the release to one typewritten, double-spaced page. No release should be more than two pages long.

Use 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper. Type on one side of the paper only. If the release continues on to a second page, write “more” at the bottom of the first page. Number the second page.

Leave wide margins and start your release about a third of the way down the page to give editors room to make notations.

Be concise, clear, accurate, and informative.

At the end, include a brief background paragraph about your organization and message.

A “Facts Page” or “Statistic Sheet” can be attached. It should describe pertinent and important facts about the issue or opportunity.

End with the symbol “###” or “30.”

Send original copies; do not send photocopies.

News Conference or Event

A news conference is a way to release major news to all the media simultaneously. They are most often used to announce political decisions, general emergencies, and developments in stories and issues that have already attracted broad community attention. If you’re considering holding a news conference, the first questions to ask are what is the subject, is it worthy, and will media be interested enough to attend? Media interest can be hard to predict accurately, and news conferences should be used sparingly. When used, choose the site and time carefully; they must be convenient to invitees. Midmorning between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. is best and allows reporters to visit the office before the conference. In general, reporters do not want to work overtime. Find out the working hours of the stations you are targeting. The conference can be combined with lunch or refreshments.

Remember to identify other events that may conflict with your conference. If local reporters must choose between your news conference and another major event, they will select the option they think will be most interesting to the largest number of people.

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