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Communications Toolkit--Telling Your Weed & Seed Story Office of Justice Programs Seal Community Capacity Development Office Office of Justice Programs
Get Your Message Out
Work With the Media—Differences Among Outlets

Every medium and local media outlet has its own particular needs. Be sure to consider the unique requirements for your local media when doing your initial fact-finding and briefings.

Know how to tailor your message for—

Print Media

Newspapers, local magazines, special interest publications, newsletters, and other periodicals can tell your story with much more detail than broadcast media. With the exception of daily newspapers, they also have longer lead times (the time between receiving your information and when it's printed), something to remember for time-sensitive information. Find out about their editorial calendars—what they'll cover in each issue—and take advantage of that information. Do not forget unusual opportunities to position Weed and Seed efforts, for example, with a business angle or as an editorial. Remember to always respect deadlines.



Although most stations broadcast some local news, with the exception of all-news and talk radio formats, they might do very little news gathering of their own. Find out how they like to receive information in the newsroom, and check out the public service, news, and talk programs they produce. Radio often provides some of your best opportunities to get more lengthy exposure and indepth discussion of your issues.



With television, pictures are key. Be sure you can offer interesting visuals for your story. Is there a way you might work with one of your local stations to develop a news series about your community? Local programming, such as morning wake-up shows and public affairs programs, always are looking for interesting local topics. Watch what they air and see how you might approach the producer with a program idea about covering your community or a specific Weed and Seed event. If you have community access channels on your local cable or satellite networks, take advantage of those opportunities.



Do not forget to tap the power of the Web. If you do not already have one, launch a Web site for your Weed and Seed site. If your chamber of commerce or city government has a Web site, contact the Webmaster about having information posted on community calendars. Offer to host a Web chat on how to prevent gun violence in your community. Ask your local partners to provide information about Weed and Seed on their sites, and do not forget that most newspapers and stations have their own Web sites.


Communities in Action
In Alabama, the city of Birmingham's Web site includes the Weed and Seed brand and a link to the Northside Weed and Seed Web site on its home page.