Mainstream Media 101

1. Pros and Cons

Pro: Communicating with the media (CBC, your local or school newspaper, a radio station, podcasts) raises public awareness and can get decision makers to listen to you.

Con: The media will make your story public, which can be hard. Journalists can get your story wrong, and people you don’t know might judge your experience.

Conclusion: Talk to people you trust about whether to contact media before you do it.

2. Tips for reaching out to mainstream media

  • Write a press release: A press release is a document that informs people about who you are and what your demands are. You can also use it to tell people about an event you’re planning. There are lots of tips for writing a press release online.

  • Once you have something you want to send out, send it to news agencies - are there ones you already respect? Ones you think would be interested in your story? Email addresses can be found on a news agency’s official website.

  • Make sure to follow up after you’ve sent your email - news agencies get a lot of mail! You can email or call.

3. Tips if the media reaches out to you

  • Return the phone call or message as soon as you can - journalists work on tight deadlines.
  • But before you get back to them, take a minute to breathe and prepare: what are the main ideas that you want the journalist to know?
  • Contact an adult you trust. What do they think about doing this media interview?
  • Find out as much as you can about the interview before doing it.

    • What angle is the journalist taking on your issue?
    • Who else are they contacting for the story?
    • How long will the interview be?
    • What is the deadline and when will the story run?
    • What is the journalist’s contact information?