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Media coverage is essential in drawing support for your issue

Engaging the media in your efforts to achieve a goal provides another group of strategies that can engage a number of partners.  Such media efforts can help establish the impression and the validity of the support for your cause.  Such efforts can involve letters to the editor, press conferences, media events, and keeping key media represesntatives aware of your position and your ability to provide useful and timely information on your particular health issue.

Communication's Document with Examples

Letter to the editor

1. This is a business letter. Address it correctly. If it is a letter to the editor, saying “Dear Editor” is acceptable. However, if you know the name of the editor (of a small newspaper) or the editorial page editor (of a large newspaper), use it, especially on the envelope and inside addressof the letter. The name, and the mailing address, can usually be found on the editorial page of the newspaper.

2. Get to the point. Within the first paragraph, tell them what you want (“Vote for SB 100”) and why (“because it will save lives”).

3. Tell your story. Try to tell a personal story sos that you are painting a picture of the problem and the solution.

4. Stick to a few major points or issues. You have a limited amount of space to make your case.

5. Your letter must be short. You can check with your local paper about the preferred number of words, but keeping your letter to less than 200 words may make it easier for your letter to be accepted for printing.

6. Include your name and contact information. Most newspapers will what to verify that you actually submitted the letter.

For a full list of Kansas newspapers click here or visit the Kansas Press Association's website.

Press conference

1. Make sure that your release information tis important and timely. Merely relaying your main points may not be seen as newsworthy. Do you have some one suffering from a problem that you wish to solve? Do you have some new national or local research that is being released? Do you have stories to tell about health impacts on the community in question? Have you gained additional partners in your efforts?

2. Arrange a date and time that will fit into the media schedule: often late morning or early afternoon. Try to schedule at times when other events may not take priority. Make sure that the location chosen is appropriate to the type of message you are trying to convey.

3. Determine who would be the best spokespersons for the conference and determine the sequence of events, the major message to be delivered, and the documentation and handout materials to be provided at the event. Work on developing answers to questions that might be asked, both friendly and hostile.

4. Provide an advance media alert, preferably one week before the conference, making sure that you have correct contact information for all local media outlets (press and electronic) and then follow up the day before the event with additional information or a phone call reminder.

5. Start on time and try to be no more than 20 minutes unless there is a great number of questions.

6. Provide packets for all participants with a media release of the information and other pertinent data that will help in providing additional information. Such packets may also be delivered to media personnel unable to attend the conference.

Media event

1. Are you having a special conference, a youth activity, a rally, a special meeting of partners? Such events can be viewed as earned media that can also help develop your message for change.

2. Again such events take special planning similar to what you would do for a press conference. However, if you have special interest activities, lots of people in attendance, and interesting events that can prove to be very visible both for press photos or television coverage, you may again have another way of recruiting support from the general public while building the impression that your effort is widespread.

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