Tips for approaching media
If you want to learn how to interact with journalists and media outlets to get your organisation and your messages into the media, here are some handy tips.
Local print media
These include daily newspapers, online newspapers, or free weekly community papers. You can get your information into the newspaper via a media release, a story or interview that the journalist prepares, a letter to the editor, or by contributing to a column.
Local broadcast media
These can include regional television and radio (commercial, community, iwi, pacific and student) channels.
Contacting your local media
Determine the ‘news’ item and the right local ‘angle’
What angle can you take to make an interesting story – what is new, unusual, going to happen? Who will be there?
Create a photo opportunity with local people
Line up a local family, sports personality, community leader who is willing to speak with media. Make sure they understand the key messages you want to be communicated.
Write a media release
This will help you focus your key messages, dates and details before speaking to any journalists. We have provided key messages for you to use.
Make initial contact with the local newspaper and/or radio station
Consider which presenter or reporter may be more interested in promoting your activity. It’s best to phone a week or two beforehand – this gives the reporter plenty of time to organise the story.
After you’ve spoken to the reporter initially, email your media release with the details.
Appoint a spokesperson
The spokesperson will need to know the details of the event and the key messages, and they will need to make themselves readily available to take media calls. Have your key messages prepared and be able to express them clearly. The spokesperson will need to keep their answers brief and to the point. Try not to reel off lots of facts and figures; personal stories or experiences are more likely to engage an audience.