How to do campaign press work
Only 12% of media stories about young people are positive, almost half the articles about young people are crime related and only one in ten stories about young people actually bothers to quote a young person (Ipsos Mori 2005). Want to do something about it?
Getting your story or comment covered in the press will raise awareness of specific issues as well as making sure everyone knows about the great work you are up to as an MYP. By working with the media you can reach a huge audience who may never have heard of you or what you are campaigning about. Getting your story covered in the media means you are getting your message across to thousands of people.
You can start by challenging negative stories in the press by contacting newspapers and radio stations when they put out negative, unbalanced reports about young people. Tell them about all the work you are doing and make them sit up and take notice!
You can also get positive stories into the press. Use some of the hints on these pages and let the UKYP Press Team know what you are up to in your area. If it is a good story we can help you get it in the local, regional or even national press.
REMEMBER! The media is an incredibly powerful tool for getting your message over. From local campaigns, to regional events, to commenting on national news stories, you can make a huge difference!
Stop the Press! How to get your news in the news
How to make news newsy? If you have two or more of the below there is a good chance you have a ‘news story’.
New figures or statistics
You can link your story to a national announcement/breaking news story
Something TOTALLY original
Something that will affect thousands of people
A story that will make people mad, sad or glad (last one is the least important!)
A celebrity (!)
Take notice of stories that make the headlines. What was it about those stories that caught the eye of the journalist? Before you write a press release or pick up the phone you need to be honest about whether or not a journalist would be interested in your story and come up with all the arguments as to why they should be!
How to write a press release
Journalists get hundreds, if not thousands, of press releases every week. If you are sending out a press release make it really exciting, keep it short and ALWAYS call a journalist afterwards to check they have received it (and not just pressed delete!) and answer any questions they may have.
Never send a press release as an attachment – always put it in the main body of an email
Write the date at the top
Write an attention grabbing headline – think about the sort of headline you see in newspapers
Answer who (is doing it), what (is happening), where (it has, or is happening), when (it is happening) and why (it is happening!) in your first paragraph
9 out of 10 young people in Birmingham want better youth clubs, according to new figures out today. The research, conducted by the UK Youth Parliament, shows that…..’
Is much stronger than,
The UK Youth Parliament is releasing figures today that show that 9 out of 10 young people in Birmingham want…’
Write a press release as if you are a journalist writing a story NOT as if you are a press officer!
Include one or two short quotes from MYPs or other interesting people
Write ENDS underneath your quotes
Underneath ENDS, write Notes to Editors. In this section, put contact details (talk to your youth worker about who you should list) and some information about UKYP
Sell, sell, sell!
Calling a journalist and telling them about your story is called ‘selling in’.
‘So what?’ is what most journalists will say (or at least think!) when you call to tell them about your story. You need to think about how to pass the ‘so what?’ test by showing how newsworthy your story is. Practise selling in your story with friends – get them to keep asking you ‘so what?’ and make sure you can answer!
Think about how your story will make the readers/listeners/viewers sit up and pay attention – it needs to be something new, original and exciting.
Imagine you have 30 seconds to sell your story to a journalist. What three key messages would you want to get across? Have these messages ready when you call.
Make sure you have all the information you need to hand. If the journalist is interested in your story they might have some questions for you so make sure you are ready to answer anything tricky that might come up. If they ask a question you really don’t know the answer to then say you will find out and come straight back to them.
REMEMBER! Keep your press release exciting, original and short. ALWAYS call a journalist to sell in your story and be ready to pass the ‘so what?’ test!