WORKING WITH THE MEDIA
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.
Please visit the Media Tools page for resources to share with the media.
Here are some effective methods for contacting the media:
- A media advisory or press announcement invites reporters to attend your event. It should be one page in length and cover the "Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why" of your program. and include a contact name and number/email. Click here to view a sample (note: all materials sent to the media should be formatted for your letterhead).
A press release can be sent before or after an event. Follow the “Guide to Writing a Press Release” below. Click here to view a sample.
Newspaper and local radio calendar listings should be included in your outreach.
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.
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.
- 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. Follow these guidelines:
- 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 your a short paragraph that describes your organization and its mission at the bottom of the last page.
- 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 email, mail or fax (depending on the reporter’s preference) to newspaper and broadcast outlets at least 4 business days before an event. For media advisories, send again the day before.
- Send your event information to calendar editors no fewer than 10 business days before the event.
- Check with magazine news desks directly for their timelines; magazines often require several months lead time.
Follow Up: Your release has been sent—what next? After a few days, contact the journalists to check that everyone received the release, and whether they will attend or cover the event. This is your chance to sell your event.
The BAW Campaign Headquarters and the Dana Foundation’s News Office receive many calls from journalists looking to cover local events and will direct inquiries to your organization, provided it has information about your events. 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 11-17, 2013 is BAW's eighteenth annual celebration.
- The campaign’s goal is to make the public more aware of the benefits and promise 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.
- Consider sharing the BAW promotional piece and fact sheet and other materials from the Media Tools section.
Visit Media Tools
Visit Public Service Announcements and Proclamations
Visit Reaching Your Target Audience
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