Media tips

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Media tips

  1. 1. THE LIBERTARIAN PARTYS SUCCESS 99 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW,Suite 100 * Washington DC 20037 * (202) 333-0008 * www.LP.org Media Lists How to develop a media list for your local party 3 MediaH ere are four ways to develop a media list Guides In Libraries for your state or local party - ranging Most local libraries have media guides that list from the easy to the labor-intensive, phone and fax numbers for reporters, editors,and from the expensive to the free. and producers. One example: Gales Directory of Publications & Broadcast Media, available in1 Bacons Directories most public libraries.Bacons offers a comprehensive, nationwide • Contact: Your locallibrary .guide that lists 200,000+ media contacts at • Price: Free40,000+ different outlets. CD-ROMand hard-cover books are available. Purchasers must sign 4 Research Via Phonecontractual agreement not to violate property If your organization has more time than money,rights by unauthorized duplication. you can still employ the single most accurate• Contact: Bacons at 312-922-2400. way to compile information about media in your• Price: $1,355. area: Simply pick up the phonebook and call them. In just a few hours, a small group of2 News Media Yellow Book volunteers can compile a completely up-to-dateThe phonebook-sized "Yellowbook" lists list. Ask for the name of the reporter whocontacts by type of media; alphabetically by handles political news, as well as the phone andpersonnel; by subject or specialty; and fax number, and youre in business, immediately.geographically. While less comprehensive than • Price: FreeBacons, the Yellowbook is useful for big-citymarkets but considerably less effective insmaller markets.Also available on CD-ROM.• Contact: Leadership Directories at 212-627-4140• Price: $264
  2. 2. - , THE LIBERTARIAN PARTYS SUCCESS 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW,Suite 100 99 * Washington DC 20037 * (202) 333-0008 * wwwLPorg Media Tips 36 tips to increase your media coverage H ere are 36 tips about how to get more news, but whats news is always compelling." media coverage for your state or local Libertarian organization. These sugges- 7 Dont call journalists late in the afternoon. tions are straight from media professionals - "Try to contact reporters in the morning - the White House reporter for USA Today; the before 1 or 2:00 in the afternoon. By 4:30 or Washington correspondent for the Knight-Ridder 5:00, theyre scrambling on deadline." newspaper chain; a booker from CNNcable network; and a producer for a Washington-area 8 Send out.press releases on a:regular basis.rIf there is no consistent contact, theyre going to radio station. forget about you. Regular contact is important." These tips were collected at a seminar at the National Press Club entitled: "How to Get Media 9 Try to craft your press releases as a "horror,-. Coverage for Your Issues and Spokesmen," sponsored by one of Washington, DCs most successful public relations firms, Creative Re- story." "Thats what sells newspapers; thats. what gets TV ratings." sponse Concepts (CRC). Quotes are verbatim from 10 Put a human face on your story. "Nothing the various journalists. sells like a human face. You need to have your facts and figures, your statistics, but a human 1 Good media coverage starts with a good face will trump your facts." media fax or mail list. "Theres quite a bit of turnover; keep your list up-to-date." 11 Try to localize your story. "You want to give an example of how your issue will impact 2 "Its important to have a regular list of your neighbor, your community. Many smaller contacts. Have a core list that always gets your newspapers will only take stories with a local press wleaS1!S." an91e~i- 3 Keep your press releases to one page. "Two -12 Avoid the beltway mentality. "We think _ pages just annoys them." whats important to us is important to the folks back home." Frequently, it isnt. 4 Write good headlines. "Make it sexy and interesting ." 13 Take your message to alternate media sources like talk radio. "Theres nothing to reach 5 Use a subhead in your press release. "There is the masses like talk radio. Theres nothing to get supporting evidence that a subhead will encour- your message out like talk radio." age the reader to read the first paragraph." 14 "Recycle your press clips" on a regular 6 Write about breaking news. "Piggyback on basis to show the media that youre already headlines. Whats compelling to you isnt always newsworthy.
  3. 3. THE LIBERTARIAN PAR TVS SUCCESS 99 * 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW,Suite 100 Washington DC 20037 * (202) 333-0008 * wwwtPorg Press Releases For Immediate Release Contact: Your Name and phone #. February 11, 1999 Address too, if its not on letterhead LIBERTARIANS PUT OUT A MEDIA RELEASE (snazzy headline) Ann Arbor, Ml=:.-The-firstparagraph-contains;alLofthe~im:portant, -attention.:gettinginformation. Who,-What, Where, When, and Why. Keep in mind that this may be all thatthey will read. Try to capture their attention, so that they will read further. The second paragraph contains back-up information. Remember, you are not trying towrite the story for them, unless it is an extremely small publication. Put in a "quote" if youhave one, but keep it as short as possible, and worth printing. (eg: "If hes afraid to debateme," Coon said, "Hows he ever going to stand up to Hillary Clinton?") The last paragraph contains additional information, but remember, what you really wantis for them to call you about your release, not just print what you wrote. Finish with anotherq-uote if you have orre. Important: NO:matter-how-muchyou have-to:-say;--keep-it:to"onepagefDouble- spacei]possible. (Double.spacinq is nice but not mandatory.). Be sure-:.to spellcheck. If you absolutelyhave to go to a second page, and I repeat, you should not, use: -more- at the end of your first page. the symbol for the end of the release is -30-
  4. 4. - THE LIBERTARIAN PARTYS SUCCESS 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100 99 * Washington DC 20037 * (202) 333-0008 * www.LP.org etter Interviews How to make your media interviews more effective Before you go on the air: When youre on the air, be sure to: (1) Create a one-sentence summary of your (1) Speak in short sentences, and avoid position. If you cant do this, chances are that jargon. Be lively and animated. Dont speak in a you arent clear about what your position is. monotone. Remember: Radio and TV are prima- rily entertainment. If you are not (to some (2) Prepare a list of the three mainpoints _ - degree) interesting> and entertaining, you will -,you want to make. Be prepared to make these not be invited back. points several times, in slightly different ways. (2) Show your personality. Humor and the (3) Be ready to set the stage by giving a use of real-life examples will make you more 30-second description of the problem/issue. likable, and consequently, more credible. Usually, this resembles the first paragraph of any standard news story. Dont assume that the (3) Back up your opinions with facts. host/audience knows anything about the issue. (4) If you use statistics, put them in (4) Be able to explain why this issue is context, ideally by using a colorful metaphor. important to the average American, in terms _Example: "Many people say that too much that they can understand. - money is spent on political campaigns. Interest- ingly, Americans spent three times as much (5) Study your opponents arguments. _ money in 1994 on potato chips as they did on Anticipate their criticisms. You can do this by political campaigns." preparing a list of obvious questions, then "role playing" with a friend to practice your answers. (5) Be ready to supply a Libertarian Most tough questions can be anticipated. Note: solution. Remember, criticism of an opponents -Vl-hen-cuming trp with=torrqh": questrorrs; -]JONT position Is-only a: vehicle throug-hwhkh We-can think like a Libertarian! Think like a Republican present our ideas. or Democrat. While on the air, dont ... 6) Be prepared for seemingly easy open-----ended questions=-owhichcan be more difficult (l)Say/~um." One way to avoid-it is to than you expect. Examples of common open- pause for a second before answering a question ended questions: "Tell us why this is an impor- in order to gather your thoughts. tant issue." "Why are Libertarians concerned (2) Engage in an argument with the host or about this issue?" "Tell us a little about the callers. Calmly and politely explain your position Libertarian Party." and attempt to answer any objections, but if a caller becomes combative, you might just say, "I can see that were going to have to agree to disagree on this issue. Lets move on ... /1
  5. 5. - THE LIBERTARIAN PARTYS SUCCESS99 * 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW,Suite 100 Washington DC 20037 * (202) 333-0008 * www.LP.org Fill this out before doing any radio or TV interview Media Outlet Interviewer Interviewers Title and/or Speciality Prior attitude [if known]: 0 Receptive/friendly 0 Hostile 0 Unknown 0 Other: ~------------------ Type of interview [live, taped, etc.]: Main topic: ... our key theme or message: Y Best/most important quote: THREE "MUST AIR" POINTS.~ 1. -------------------------------------------------------------------- Example or proof: 2. Example or proof: 3. Example or proof: THREE MOST DIFFICULT QUESTIONS 1.--miestlon: Response 2. Question: Response 3. Question: Response BACKGROUND: THE FIVE "Ws" and "H" Who: What: When: Where: Why; How:
  6. 6. THE LIBERTARIAN PARTYS SUCCESS99 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW,Suite 100 * Washington DC 20037 * (202) 333-0008 * www.LPorg t Media _______ Dos and Donts when dealing with print journalistsN othing is an absolute when media are two days or less, so if a reporter cant reach you involved. Nothing is a given when fairly quickly, your view might not get in. elections come along. However, candi- • DONT badger journalists about cover-dates can really help themselves out by follow- age. They dont mind taking a call asking legiti-ing a few mostly common-sense steps in their mate questions, or announcing real news, butdealings with print (and other) media. anything less gets bothersome. (Editors and • DO realize that media organizations are reporters-take many. calls a day, and they theymade up of individuals. Its important to learn still.have to get a lot-of writing done, too.)who needs your press releases and who .needs ··00be patient during an interview whenyour photos; they may be different people. reporters mix up who you are, which office you • DONT assume the Editorial Page depart- are seeking, or some other detail. That samement is connected to the News Department. At reporter probably is covering five or six smallmost papers, they have nothing to do with each and large races, each with two or three candi-other, so feeding your news-related releases to dates, many of whom he or she likely spoke withthe Editorial Page doesnt do you much good. just hours or minutes before speaking with you. • DO make sure everything you send the (However, make sure the reporter has the detailpaper is typed. Unfair as it might be, handwritten correct before the interview is over.)releases dont get top priority. The people who • DONT try to trick, dazzle, impress orhave to type them in dislike having to decipher. belittle the reporter. Be yourself, talking to • DO have nice color and black-and-white someone just trying to do a job well. Speakphotos made. This becomes more important with clearly and directly. Reporters arent trying toless visible offices, which are less likely to unearth some terrible secret when they inter-inY2ly~ _d~~a!~s_or_p~})lic_pj)~~rClnce~._A_ies:~nt- a c viell_You_apollt tltE:r~ce;Jhey ju.§t_V!aI1tqocd,quality publicity photo lends credibility. Make concise answers that they can relay in print.sure the appropriate person at the paper has at That said, if a reporter does ask hard questions,least one copy in color and in black and white. remember thats part of his job, too.More than one copy never hurts. • DONT-make assumptions about the ·00 get a Web page, and put on it the political. persuasions of the News Department( s).important things you want people to see: Your Editorial Page departments are supposed to haveviews on major issues, background details, a a political bias. But News Departments aim tophoto. Links to other sites sponsored by your remain as neutral as possible. Individual reportersparty. Make sure the Web address is prominent can and do belong to political parties, but theyon any materials you hand out. arent supposed to favor one view over another. • DO be available for interviews. • DONT delay returning phone calls from [Written by Mark Thompsen-Kolar. the Assistantreporters. Stories usually are turned around in Managing Editor, News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, IN]
  7. 7. Libertarian Volunteer January/February 1998 - Turn press releases into publicity Pagelof3 January/February 1998 Turn press releases into publicity Activist Library Manuals and Garnering more local media: A proven three- Handbooks step process Libertarian Volunteer By Scott Kjar, Libertarian Party of Alabama. I log on, check my e-mail, and somehow end up on the local news. I read my e-mail, and a few days later I see my name in print. I download my e- mail, and my picture appears in the local paper. Is there something magical about my e-mail? Yes! The magic in my e-mail comes to me from the National Libertarian Party. But more on that later ... STEP ONE Before I can get local media coverage, I have to know what local media outlets are available. This step is actually pretty easy" The phone book! I pick up the local phone book, go to the Yellow Pages, and I start looking up headings like "Newspapers," "Radio Stations," "Television Broadcast Stations," "Magazines," and "Publications." From there, I write down the name of each media outlet, its address, and its phone number. If possible, you should pick up a copy of the newspapers and magazines, and see who writes their political material. Watch the television news and ..- --s~h.Q-GQ¥€-r-s-th-€l-p0l-i-t-iea-l-s-t:0ri-e&--Listen--t-o-th-e-radl-o-stat-i-ons-and-finu-out who handles the political beat. Or, just call them! Thats right, you can call the local media outlets, ask them who handles politics, and then record the name. (And while youve got the receptionist on the phone, ask for their fax number!) Once youve got your local media list created, youll want to figure out a good way to keep track of it. If you have a computer, record the information in a database. If not, you can type the information onto a sheet of paper. Do it in the size of a label, so that you can photocopy your page directly onto a sheet of labels, then just peel them off and stick them on envelopes when you need them. (For media outlets with fax machines, often a fax is the fastest, cheapest, and most convenient route to take. I have the fax number of the localhttp://archive.lp.org/lit/lv/980 I-media.html 2/21/2002
  8. 8. Libertarian Volunteer January/February 1998 - Turn press releases into publicity Page 2 of3 newspaper programmed into my own fax machine, so I can get info out within seconds.) STEP TWO I mentioned the magic e-mail that I get from the National LP. You see, the National LP sends out e-mail press releases every few days. These are items that the national LP HQ has already sent out to national media, such as the Washington Post, or NBC. However, its a pretty good bet that the National HQ has not sent them to the Opelika-Auburn News (my local daily paper), or to the Tuskegee News (a weekly paper in the next county). Thats where I step in. You see, I simply take the National LP press release, download it into Microsoft Word, put it into an attractive font, add my own name as a local contact (while leaving the national LP contact information also on the release), and print it out. I dont have to worry about whether my press release is well written -- it already is. Im not concerned about whether I am following the rules of putting together a release, or in have given too much or too little information. After all, the people who write these at the national HQ -- Communications Director Bill Winter and Press Secretary George Getz -- are professionals who do this for a living. All I need to be able to do is print it, and mail (or fax) it. STEP THREE Once in a while, steps one and two are sufficient, and a local media representative calls me and asks for an interview. Usually, though, a little follow-up is required. So, I go back to my press list, I pick up the phone, and I call the person to whom I sent the press release. I ask if they received the release, and if they would like more information. Sometimes, the person did not receive it. (This usually means they saw it, threw it away, and forgot about it.) Offer to re-fax it to them, and call them back in a half-hour. Other times, theperson did receive it, but is not interested in the story. -fh-atsokay.-Repoftefssee a 10fOY potentIal-slones every Gay~and-most of them never get covered. Thats right, most of them never get covered! There is a finite amount of space in a newspaper and on TV news -- and it isnt possible to cover every story (no matter how important we think it is!) Thank the person, and move on. Haranguing a reporter will rarely succeed in getting you good press, but it is almost guaranteed to get you bad press. In our best-case scenario, the reporter got the press release, thought it was interesting, and thanks you for calling. At this time, you suggest a get- together with the reporter to discuss the issue, and try to set an appointment. You are on your way to local media coverage. Two notes of caution First, reporters may not always know the ins-and-outs of your issue, buthttp://archive.lp.org/lit/lv/980 1-media.html 2/21/2002
  9. 9. Libertarian Volunteer January/February 1998 - Turn press releases into publicity Page 3 of3 they can generally tell whether you know the ins-and-outs. Dont try to dazzle the reporter, and dont try to make things up. Marshall your facts before you meet a reporter. If you need additional information or sources, call the National LP HQ. After all, since they wrote the original press release, they can probably also tell you where to get additional information. In some cases, George Getz and Bill Winter have faxed articles to me, so that I could show my local media representative that the issue has been covered in other places. (While national journalists may want to break new stories, local journalists are often more comfortable knowing that someone else has already decided that an issue is newsworthy.) Second, when you meet with any reporter, whether for TV, radio, or newspaper, you should dress for the event! If you show up in a scruffy pair of pants and an obscene tee-shirt, you will be dismissed as a fringe element. If you look and act in a professional manner, you will be treated appropriately. Also, keep in mind that you just might end up on TV, or your photo might end up in the newspaper. If you look like a scraggly mess, then your image becomes the local LPs image. Professional business attire is always appropriate in such situations. FINAL THOUGHTS By following the Three-Step Approach, you can increase your local media presence without doing a great deal of work. And once one local media outlet picks up a story, you then want to redouble your efforts at the other outlets. For example, I had a particular story I promoted here about the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments and Bill Clintons "apology." At first, no local newspaper covered the issue. However, once a local TV station gave me a two-minute story, suddenly all local media wanted to hear our views. Thus, it is easy for you to help get the LP message across. Just read your e- mail! LP HOME I PREVIOUS ARTICLE I NEXT ARTICLE I TABLE OF CONTENTShttp://archive.lp.org/lit/lv/980 l-media.html 212112002

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