WUSC MEDIA TRAINING Media Tip Sheet

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1 Media Tip Sheet WRITING YOUR PRESS RELEASE: Keep it short a press release should be no longer than a page. If reporters want more information they will contact you. Have an engaging title It s the first thing a reporter reads so make sure it s clear, interesting and explains what this release will be about. And make sure it s a short title. Get to the point Get the most important information out at the top of your release and then give more details like dates, addresses, etc. Make it newsworthy Your event or story may be interesting to you, but is it newsworthy? Is your release compelling to you, would a reporter find it compelling, and is this the type of thing reporters generally cover? If the answers is no to either of the three, rethink your approach. (Note: If possible, connect your story or event to any current news.) Be concise - Cut out the jargon, big words and marketing speak. Sometimes, if it s a really good release, the reporter will just place it in the paper as is. Send it to the relevant reporter Whenever possible, do not send your release to the general reporter. Many times, a reporter will receive a press release that has nothing to do with his/her beat and the release goes right in the trash. Do some research and send it to a journalist with a specific beat (example: education reporter). Most media outlets have their reporters with the specific sections listed on their contact page. When in doubt, just call the media outlet and say you want to send a release about xxx and ask who would be the most relevant reporter to send it to. Tailor your press release This is related to the last point. If you noticed a particular journalist has written about your LC, WUSC or related issues in the past then him/her saying something like, Dear Mr. Smith, you have written about xxx in the past and we think this release will be of interest to you as it is about xxx. Use previous contacts has a reporter previously written about your Local Committee? Contact him/her again and send your press release. Remind the reporter he/she has written about your LC before and you have another story that might be of interest. If you build on these relationships with your media contacts then there s a better chance they will share your story. Do not attach your press release Instead copy and paste it into the body of the . This will reduce the chance of your being sent to junk mail or deleted. Add in some social media Do your LC have a Twitter, blog or Facebook page? Does your event have a Facebook Events page? Make sure to add those links in at the end of the press release for more information. FOLLOW UP WITH THE MEDIA Always follow up within hours after you ve sent the press release, any longer and the reporter will most likely forget. Call the reporter/editor you sent the press release to. Remind them of who you are and what press release you sent. If the reporter is not there, leave a message, but also try again later, or ask to speak with another reporter or editor covering a similar topic. Keep on calling until you speak with someone! Be prepared Have the press release in front of you when you call to remind yourself of the details. Pitch why you think this would be interesting and why you think the public would want to know. Be prepared to answer some blunt questions. The reporter may ask, Why is this important? or What makes your event different? Be confident in your answers. Be brief much like the press release, say all the important information right away. Mention who the reporter can interview and opportunities for filming/photographs. Keep your pitch to about a minute long (no longer). Next time If a reporter says no you can always ask why. You may not like the answer, but at least you ll have a better idea of what to do next time.

2 Media Tip Sheet TIPS FOR BROADCAST The first person to approach is the producer of a show that is the best fit. So, students should visit the station s website and view their program schedule. Look for a show that features interviews that might cover things like: International issues, Africa, food security, etc. Then pitch the story idea to that producer rather than just going to the station manager or production manager of the whole station. Invite someone to cover the story. - Giacomo Panico, journalist, CKCU radio station Television reporters rely on telling their story through images. When pitching to a television news station, be sure to emphasize activities that will look great on camera (colourful costumes, crowds of people, noise, etc)

3 Social Media Tip Sheet RULES TO REMEMBER Choose your Social Media wisely There are over 30 different types of social media pages you can sign up for, but do you have to be on all of them? Choose your social media wisely to ensure that all interesting information you re posting WILL be read by people who are genuinely interested in your group or cause. Follow/Like relevant people and organizations This can vary per Local Committee but some suggestions include: Supporters at your university/college (including your own LC members!) Your community/city reporters Journalists who report on international development issues Similar non-profit organizations WUSC WUSC Campus Connections Other WUSC Local Committees Inform your network - Post about all the good work you re doing; your network wants to know about it! Some examples of what you can post: Photos (of your LC, events, SRP, fundraisers etc) Event or fundraising information News articles related to WUSC Quotes and statistics about international development Engage your network Two-way communication is always best! From time to time, ask your network questions and opinions on different topics related to your Local Committee. Other options include: Posting event invites (be sure to ask Who wants to come? ) Encouraging people to post photos and stories related to WUSC Polls Simply asking How is everyone s day? Try and post something a few times a week Life can get busy! But if your audience sees that you re continuously updating your social media pages the more likely other people will want to get involved, and keep coming back! That being said Don t post too much You know how you get annoyed when someone is clogging up your Facebook newsfeed? Don t be that person! Keep it to one, maybe two posts a day on Facebook. Got a lot of stuff to say? Twitter allows you more freedom to post multiple items at once. Always remember As a Local Committee and as Local Committee members you are representing WUSC. Use your best judgment before posting something. If you re unsure you can always us!

4 Social Media Tip Sheet SOCIAL MEDIA AND JOURNALISTS When sending out a press release be sure to add your Twitter/Facebook link so journalists can start following you It s still always best to send journalists a press release to their work and not through their Twitter (and certainly not on their personal Facebook wall)! However that doesn t mean you can t engage and build a relationship with a journalist over Twitter. Here are some tips on how you can do that: Having a good relationship with journalists means they re more likely to remember you and print stories about your news and events!

5 Open Letter to the Media Tip Sheet WRITE AN OPEN LETTER TO MEDIA There are many ways to support a campaign and the cause you care for! One is to write an open letter to your local newspapers and magazines. Print media are distributed in your neighborhood, your city, your campus or in your workplace; and can provide a platform to share your story and your support of the cause with the Canadian public. The media tend to pay attention to local stories, so feel free to offer them your texts! 1. What to include in your letter to the media? Here is an example of open letter from a volunteer back from the field who support the Her Challenge, Your Challenge on equality between women and men. This example allows you to identify some key elements that could be included in your letter: From October 2009 till October 2010, I had the opportunity to work with Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) as a Research Advisor, through the Uniterra program. I assisted GNECC in their advocacy campaigns to ensure the school environment is safer for girls. Some of the campaigns included: Stop Violence against Girls in Schools and a campaign to ensure schools provide separate toilets for boys and girls. Your interest/experience in international cooperation. Briefly tell your experience or relationship with international cooperation. Ghana is making efforts to ensure equality between women and men but in reality women continue to face barriers in accessing education, employment and credit. Violence against women is still wide spread in Ghana despite many efforts to curb the menace. Girls are exposed to violence in schools which serve as a major barrier to their right to education. For instance, in 2008, the Ministry of Education reported that only 48% out of the total number of 13,247 primary schools have access to toilet facilities in Ghana. This means that both boys and girls attend to natures call in the bush. This exposes girls to sexual and other forms of violence from predators. Also lack of separate toilets for both boys and girls has been confirmed to be a major factor for girl absenteeism and drop out from school. The challenge of (target group) the country of interest is... What is, according to you, a major challenge for women in this country. Explain why this issue is a challenge the target group (ex. for women) and what they do to meet it. My challenge is to serve as a role model for girls and women in Ghana. I was born and raised in Northern Ghana in the midst of poverty and lack of opportunities for girls to realize their true potential. But I was able to rise above the challenges and obtained an education. To help improve the situation, my challenge is... Explain what you do, abroad and/or in Canada, to support the campaign (ex. echo the voices of women around the world) and to help improve the situation.

6 Open Letter to the Media Tip Sheet Equality is everyone s business because discrimination and inequality affect everyone. It takes both women and men to create a more equal world. Together, in Ghana, in Canada, and everywhere, we will make the planet a better place for everyone to live in. Include campaign s key messages. For Her Challenge, Your Challenge, the key message is Equality is everyone s business. Explain why do you think Canadians should support your cause/campaign? Each and every one of us can do our part and take the challenge of equality, by participating in the Uniterra campaign Her Challenge, Your Challenge. Check out the videos, blog and resources, take action and support more egalitarian societies your way by visiting the campaign website: www. herchallengeyourchallenge.ca. It s your turn, take the challenge! Insert a paragraph at the end of your text to challenge the readers and encourage them to participate too. It s your turn, take the challenge! Your signature 2. Let us read your text before sending it to the media. Send us your text at or before sending it to the media so we can have a look at it. We will keep your text and will highlight it in our communications. 3. Send your letter to your local media. For more information, please refer them to the website for the campaign you are supporting (see: In the Toolbox of the Resources section of each campaign, you will find campaign resources you can share with the media in addition to your letter. 4. Let us know if your text is published! Congratulations! Send us by the hyperlink to or a copy of your published article. And to fully appreciate the scope of your work, tell us how many readers the newspaper or magazine that published your article has the journalist whom you have been in contact with should be able to provide this information. We can thus assess the impact achieved by the efforts of all participants in the campaign.

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