Editors and reporters receive hundreds of news releases and other media materials every day. How do they decide which get "ink" or "air" and which get tossed aside? When an editor or producer is deciding whether to run a particular story, the bottom line is how much it will appeal to the outlet's audience. As you put together your story, ask yourself these questions:
- Is the information timely? Does it connect to current issues?
- Is it "news"? Has it been reported already?
- Is it local? Does it affect people in this community?
- Does it have a human interest element? Does it have emotional appeal?
- Does it affect a lot of people? Why should the community care?
- Is there a draw? Is a celebrity or other noted person involved?
- Is it visual? Do you have pictures to enhance your words?
One way to guarantee the timeliness of your story is to tie it to what your local news media are already reporting. Read the newspaper every day. Listen to the radio as you drive to and from work. Try to catch at least one local daily TV newscast. Use this information to capture or expand your Weed and Seed program's exposure. Offer media outlets new or additional information to present a balanced view, provide up-to-date local statistics, present your experts as spokespersons, and point journalists to other sources.
Remember: Your goal is to maximize the exposure of Weed and Seed and your mission. If you spend a bit of time to ensure that your story is newsworthy and timely, you'll be much more likely to earn coverage for Weed and Seed.