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Water and health advocacy: A practical guide for World Water Day 2001: Previous page | 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12

Working with the Media


The News Release

Many published news and feature stories originate from news releases. Ask yourself the following questions before writing your news release.

  • Is this story truly newsworthy and will it interest the intended audience?
  • Does this story, if published, or re-written, advance my/our objectives?
  • Are all the facts and figures in the story 100 percent accurate? Has every name, date and piece of information been double-checked with a reliable source?

If the answer is YES to all the above then you are ready to write your story.

The News Conference

Perhaps the single most effective means of winning media coverage for World Water Day event you are organizing is to hold a news conference. Generally speaking, 11 a.m. is a good time for journalists and preferably not just before the weekend as the papers are usually thin. The most important part of the news conference is the announcement being made. Regardless of how much publicity accompanies a news conference, if the announcement is not newsworthy, the coverage will be disappointing.

News Conference Checklist

  • Invitation list—print press, radio, TV and others
  • Time and date: possible conflicts with competitive events
  • Invitations
  • Media advisory
  • Photo opportunity
  • Call back to invited press members to firm up attendance
  • Media kit—include speeches, main announcement release, biographies*, backgrounder, fact sheet, photos etc.
  • Anticipate possible questions from the media and prepare answers
  • On-site arrangements—room rental, name signs on podium for speakers, audiovisual equipment etc.
  • Refreshments or snacks and drinks, if desired.

Alerting the Media—what journalists expect

In approaching journalists for the first time, you must have something written in hand. There should be at least two main elements in your background information: first, a brief description of your event, and a good collection of striking facts and statistics on water and health. This text can be an advance press release about your event, or a longer, less structured “backgrounder”. Involving the Media to cover your event

The print press (newspapers and magazines)

If you live in a provincial city, rather than in the capital of the country, there may only be one or two major newspapers. A member of your event organising committee may be acquainted with one of the editors. This person should contact the editor, ask for an appointment, and tell him or her about your plans for participation in the World Water Day. If he/she is interested in the idea, the editor could be encouraged to write an editorial on the subject related to water and health. If not, then you can propose to write an ‘op-ed’ article on the subject. Op-ed page articles generally run on the page opposite the editorial page, and express the views of citizens. By limiting the length of your op-ed piece to 500 or 600 words, you stand a much better chance of seeing it published.

The news agencies—Don't neglect them

In addition to newspapers and magazines, you ought to get in touch with the national news agency, also known as wire services. If they put out a dispatch on water and health for World Water Day, the story will go out to every newspaper, magazine, radio station and television network in your country.

10 Important International Media (in addition to your national media outlets)

  • AP – Associated Press
  • Reuters
  • AFP – Agence France-Presse
  • International Herald Tribune
  • New York Times
  • The Washington Post
  • The Economist
  • FT (Financial Times)
  • CNN (Cable News Network)
  • BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)

Water and health advocacy: A practical guide for World Water Day 2001: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 | Next page

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