COMMUNICATING WITH THE MEDIA

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) provides an excellent opportunity to garner local press coverage. Your best route is through the communications office at your organization; they are comfortable working with the media and know the local press. Be prepared to provide details about your program and the campaign.

Here are some methods for contacting the media:

  • Letters to the Editor and Opinion pieces provide an opportunity to discuss issues and events. Letters should be brief and focused on one main theme. Opinion pieces should be written by an authority on the subject.
  • A media advisory invites reporters to attend your event. It should be one page in length and cover the "who, what, where, when, and why" of your program, and include a contact name and number/e-mail. View our two samples.
  • A press release can be sent before or after an event. Follow the “Guide to Writing a Press Release” below, and view a sample here.

 
Guide to Writing a Press Release
Some tips for making your release stand out:

Start Strong: Think of a newspaper and what attracts your attention: the title and the opening paragraph. To create a strong lead, include:

  • A concise and self-explanatory headline.
  • All the event details in the opening paragraph (who, what, where, when, and why).
  • Short sentences that state the facts. Avoid technical terms, jargon and flowery prose.
  • A quote from someone close to the project.
  • An acknowledgement of local partners and sponsors, to add a local human interest.

 
Get the Right Look: Press releases should be clear and easy to read.

  • Include the words ‘Press Release’ across the top of your header paper, along with the date of release and contact information. Indicate whether the information is intended “For Immediate Release,” or give an embargo date if you would prefer publicity be held back until a specified date.
  • Include a short paragraph that describes your organization and its mission at the bottom of the last page.
  • For printed releases, use one and a half or double line spacing and leave wide margins; 1-2 pages is standard for most releases.
  • Proofread your release before sending.

 
Time Your Communication:

  • Send releases by e-mail or mail (depending on the reporter’s preference) to newspaper and broadcast outlets at least four business days before an event.
  • Send your event information to calendar editors no fewer than ten business days before the event.
  • Check with magazine news desks directly for their timelines; magazines often require several months lead time. 


Please note that the BAW Campaign Headquarters is unable to assist individual partners in the writing or distribution of press materials.

What to Remember about BAW When Speaking with the Media
In alerting the media to your BAW program, remember that your participation in a global campaign may make your story more newsworthy. Here are some facts to include about BAW:

  • March 16-20, 2016 is BAW's 21st annual celebration.
  • The campaign’s goal is to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.
  • BAW is a global partnership of government agencies, scientific organizations, universities, hospitals, service groups, professional associations, schools, and others.
  • Hundreds of BAW events take place each year, organized by partners to meet one or more of the following goals: scientific, education, or advocacy outreach.


 
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Cardiff University. United Kingdom. BAW 2013.

Cardiff University. United Kingdom. BAW 2013.

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BAW Campaign Headquarters

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives
505 Fifth Avenue, Sixth Floor
New York, New York 10017
Tel: +1 212 401-1689
Email: bawinfo@dana.org