How to Catch that News Editor's Attention
If you have a school-related event you'd like covered by the media, the Communications Department can help you make contact with them. The Communications Department has a media contact list, and better still, relationships with the news organizations in Baldwin and Mobile Counties as well as other state and national news agencies.
ATTRACTING MEDIA ATTENTION, 1-2-3:
1. Write a media teaser or pitch. (Details on how to do this are given below.)
2. In a timely manner, send the teaser with contact names and telephone numbers to Communications Director Terry Wilhite.
3. Understand how the news business works:
Keep in mind, whether print or electronic, news resources are limited and are usually employed to cover the day's "breaking" and urgent news stories. You may have a very worthy story, but a news organization simply may not have the reporter and photographer available to give you coverage.
SELLING YOUR EVENT: WRITING A MEDIA PITCH (TEASER)
Journalists are most likely to follow up on teasers that are EASY TO READ AND UNDERSTAND, and that clearly list a contact person with a telephone number that is promptly answered (a cell phone typically is your best bet).
REMEMBER! You're competing with major news events going on in the community (bank robberies, drug busts, murders, etc.), so as much pertinent, interesting information that could get media attention should be included in an orderly, easy-to-follow way. So quickly and clearly spell out the who, what, when, where, why and how.
In writing the media pitch that you will send to the Communications Department, please remember the following:
• Keep it short and simple and easy to understand.
• Put the most important information (the point of your story) in the first paragraph.
• List the who, what, when (date and time), where, why and how as quickly and clearly as possible.
• Include the contact person for the day of the event if it is different from the media contact, and be sure to use a telephone number that someone will answer promptly. Cell phone numbers are usually best.
• ALWAYS run spell-check before sending, and double-check name spellings!
EXAMPLE OF A GREAT MEDIA PITCH
Dozens of Students to Participate in 2020 Special Olympics Competition
[WHO] Fairhope law enforcement [WHAT] will kick off the 2020 Special Olympics competition [HOW] with its innaugural Torch Run fundraiser [WHEN/WHERE] starting at Fairhope High School and ending at the Fairhope Municipal Complex on ________.
[WHY] The 5K fundraiser will benefit the annual competition and will culminate in the passing of the torch to four Baldwin County Special Olympics athletes who will each run a quarter of the stadium track signaling the beginning of the games.
U.S. 98 will be blocked off from the high school to the municipal complex for the Torch Run [WHEN] at 8 a.m., and Fairhope residents are being encouraged to line the highway and cheer on the officers as they carry the torch.
[VISUAL INFO] The procession of Special Olympics athletes will follow the Torch Run in the stadium, where each school will display banners for their athletes and for entry in the banner competition.
[OTHER NEWSWORTHY INFO] Highlights of this year's competition include running, walking, shot put, a wheelchair dash, a softball throw, and a tennis ball throw. The Special Olympics Village will feature face painting, games and Karaoke.
[CONTACT INFO] For more information, please contact [FIRST AND LAST NAMES, TITLES, TELEPHONE NUMBERS OF ALL CONTACT INDIVIDUALS AND EVENT-DAY CONTACT NAMES AND NUMBERS] (Always provide complete and correct contact information, especially if it's different from the school's media contact.)