You may already have good awareness of the local media scene. You can do some research if not, and dig a bit more into where people go for their local news. Is it the local paper, or the neighbourhood social media groups? Which paper has the biggest readership? Who are the local radio personalities?
To get the lie of the land, you can:
- Identify the journalists who write about environmental topics in your region
- Monitor media mentions of your issue
- Invite a journalist who writes about environmental issues in your region for coffee and a chat about the campaign – they might be looking for leads on a story.
Whenever you’re organising an event or action during the campaign consider alerting the media. The main purpose is to share a perspective, information, or quotes, a journalist can’t get anywhere else. It needs to be to the point and economical with words. Journalists work in a busy fast moving environment, and just need the basic info.
- Be clear on the what, when and who.
- Write the quotes for them and they will use directly
- What is the urgent thing right now? What’s the angle that makes this ‘news’?
- Journalists are looking for people’s stories; do the work for them and share the stories of people with lived experience of the issue
- Add a contact person and phone number
Send wide first to media news desks, and then follow up with individuals to check they saw it. Search for journalists who write about your issue, and send the release to them directly.
Check out Community Comms Collective’s national media list: Media contact list
Some more tips on using a press release: The Movement Hub
An example Greenpeace release:
Speaking with media
You may have an opportunity to speak with a journalist, be interviewed on the campaign, or asked for comment. No matter who it is take it, even for someone’s school project! It’s a chance to get experience and comfortable speaking about the issue.
Before an interview write down three main points you want to get across. If you have more time, or you’re feeling nervous, practice with a friend with questions that may come up. Relax and focus on the message.
Top tips to nail a media interview
Before the interview
- Find out the length of your interview before you go on, and if the interviewer has a position on the issue
- Prep 1+3: If listeners or viewers come away remembering one thing you said, what should it be? The best way to determine this is to write what’s called a ‘1 plus 3’. The one is the absolute key thing you must get across. The 3s are additional key messages.
- Do a brainstorm of some of the key or tricky questions you think they might ask (or you would ask) and prepare your responses
- Ask a friend to help you do a practice run
During the interview:
- Be confident, open, relaxed
- Make eye contact
- Build up to detail, don’t dive straight in – assume the audience has zero knowledge
- Try to avoid speeding up – take a breath
- Don’t make it personal with the interviewer – remember that you’re talking to your wider audience
- If it’s not a live interview, don’t be afraid to say: ‘I don’t know about that, but I’d be happy to find out and let you know.’
- If the interviewer gives you a chance for a final comment you can repeat your key point in another way.