L G B T   C a m p u s   O r g a n i z i n g
The release should be neatly
interested in your issue as you are.  This
typed on your official organizational let 
means you should be able to pitch your
terhead.  Include the name of your con 
story (i.e., tell them why they should cov 
tact person and a phone number where
er your story) in less than one minute.
they can be reached (you should have
The first question you should ask the
only one or two spokespeople; reporters
reporter is, "are you on deadline?"  If they
hate to be juggled around).  Write the
are, politely ask them when a good time
release as if you were writing the story to
to call them would be.  Before you call
appear in the next day s paper.  The head 
any reporter, make sure you have your
line should summarize the contents of
story straight and have all the essential
your release in as few words as possible
information at your fingertips.  Also be
so the journalist can determine at a glance
ready to fax an additional release if they
whether (s)he is interested.  The first
request one.
paragraph should include all of the most
essential information   who, what,
Before you talk to any reporter, get your
where and when.  Try to keep your
story straight.  Think about what your
release objective.  If  you want to include
main points will be and then stick to
value statements, do so through direct
them.  Don t let yourself get sidetracked.
quotes.  Include quotes from the leader of
Remember, taped interviews will be edit 
your group, other concerned students or
ed.  This means you may only get a fif 
teen second soundbite.  You must make
your point early and often during the
You should incorporate a
interview.  Keep your message simple
media strategy into every
and don t ramble.  Say what you have to
campaign you wage.
say and then stop.  The short statement is
more likely to show up on the evening
other "experts" who add credibility or
news.  If you don t know the answer to
interest to your issue.  You can even write
something, say so.  Never lie. 
the quotes for your spokesperson and
simply okay them with your spokesper 
Working with the media can be a
son.  The last paragraph should consist of
fun and easy way to move your agenda
a few sentences describing your organi 
forward.  It just takes a bit of forethought
zation.  Keep your paragraphs short   no
and organization.  Reporters want stories;
more than five or six sentences.  Ideally,
you have a story to tell.  Use the media as
the release should not be more than a
a tool to win concrete victories.
page and never more than two.  If you
must have more than one page, end the
first page with " more " centered on the
Media Advocacy Tips: Case Study
page.  Always end your release with a 
" 30 " or "###".  This is press etiquette
The following outline contains tips for
and signifies the end of the release.
developing and executing an effective
media campaign around hate crimes.
Make follow up calls to reporters.
Use these tips when planning press visi 
is where you will "pitch" your story.
bility for your anti violence report or
Reporters are generally busy, overworked
adapt them for your own purposes.  
people who, most likely, will not be as
8 6
B u i l d i n g   a   H e a l t h y   O r g a n i z a t i o n


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