J. Tips for Working with the Media

  • Make sure there’s something newsworthy to say. The story should “hook” onto a newsworthy element, such as an existing national or state-level event or involvement of a local official or celebrity.
  • Think visually. Student-made posters or school mascots provide great visuals for the media, and they make photos of events more appealing.
  • Prepare for an interview. Use talking points to ensure a consistent message about your Safe Routes to School program. Think ahead of time about people who might speak to the media for an interview and obtain their permission to share their contact information.
  • It is okay to pick up the phone and talk to a reporter or editor about the program. Find out who covers a beat related to Safe Routes to School (education, physical activity, local issues, etc.) For television, the best time to call is between 10am-2pm and 7pm-10pm to avoid peak news broadcast hours.
  • Be available. Make it a priority to answer requests when possible.
  • Limit the length of news releases and advisories. When writing a news release or media advisory, keep the length to one or two pages and offer more detailed information on a Web site or through supplemental materials. It is important to include accurate and complete contact information.
  • Establish media partnerships. Approach local media to discuss opportunities for partnering on the promotion of Safe Routes to School. Contact the community affairs department to discuss potential partnerships, such as public service announcements.

For template media materials and resources, see http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/search/node/media%20type%3Aresources%2Csuccess_story%2Cevent.

For more information, see Media and Visibility chapter of this Guide.

Adapted from the National Center for Safe Routes to School Media Tip Sheets.