SGA Top Tip of the Week: Working With the Media
Getting your issues in the media helps you educate the public, call on decision-makers to take action, and build visibility for your student government. You can get your issues covered in student-run media outlets on your campus, and in off-campus media outlets.
Here are the steps to getting media coverage:
- Build a list of media contacts for your area. Look up campus, local, and statewide outlets. Include newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations. At minimum, find a phone number and email address for the News Desk. If possible, also look up the News Editor, Assignment Editor, or even individual reporters that have covered your issue in the past.
- Write a Press Advisory, and send it to your media list a week before your event. A Press Advisory is like a party invitation - it's the quick Who, What, When, and Where. Here's an example from our Student Government Action Kit.
- Call through your media contacts to invite them to cover your event. Tip: start by writing a script for what you plan to say. Convey the newsworthiness of your issue, AND the best photo/camera opportunities at your event.
- Call through your media contacts again the day before and the morning of the event. Confirm they can come, and remind them what a great and newsworthy event it will be!
- Get ready to talk to reporters at the event. Decide on your main "talking points", write them down, memorize them, and stick to them! Tip: designate one person at the event to be the Media Spokesperson, and have all the reporters talk to that person.
- Write a Press Release, give it to reporters at the event, and send it to your media list after the event. A Press Release is basically the story how you'd like it to be written. Here's an example from our Student Government Action Kit.
- Follow up. Call and thank the media outlets that attended. Call the ones that didn't attend, and pitch them on still writing a story.
Often the most important step is figuring out the message you want to convey and sticking to it, so don't skip that part! You can also check out our how-to on Organizing a Press Conference.