Contacting your local media
Contacting media is an important way we can use our voice for justice. This might seem a bit intimidating at first – but remember that a personal story or letter from a local resident has great newsworthiness. Local papers love a local angle and this is often exactly the type of article they are looking for.
It is important to remember that local media are more interested in a unique or emotive local story than in facts and figures. You might be passionate about the statistics behind global poverty, but local media are more interested in the narrative – how the issue is affecting local residents like you.
Your involvement in a campaign-related event, or a meeting with an MP, is a perfect chance to contact your local media and it provides a fantastic photograph and interview opportunity.
Getting coverage in local media also makes a big impact on politicians, who keep a close eye on the local media of their electorate.
Examples of media avenues to contact:
• Your local newspaper (‘local rag’).
• Your local community radio station.
• Your local Christian radio station.
• Your church/denomination’s website or blog.
• Denominational newsletter/magazines.
• National/daily papers (this is best done through a 150 word letter to the editor)
Tips for writing to your local paper or contacting ABC local radio:
1. Contact the editor – Visit the following websites to find details of local newspapers & ABC radio in your area:
- http://www.abc.net.au/local/ – for ABC local radio stations
- http://www.fairfax.com.au/local-news.html – for Fairfax local & regional newspapers
- http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/contact – for Murdoch local newspapers in & around Sydney
- http://www.couriermail.com.au/questnews/contact – for Murdoch local newspapers in & around Brisbane
- http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/help/contact-us – for Murdoch local newspapers in & around Adelaide
- http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/contact – for Murdoch local newspapers in & around Melbourne
Find the email address for the editor in the ‘contact us’ section of your newspaper’s website or call and request their email address if it isn’t listed. You may need to upload your article and photo to the ‘send us your news’ section.
Alternatively, download an excel spreadsheet of local newspaper contacts here.
- Write a letter to the editor
- Contribute a news article
- Call in to local radio
After you've sent through details to the editor about your event (see below), make sure you follow them up with a phone call to check that they received your article. Ask them if they need any further information or if they’d be interested in sending a photographer.
2. Before your event (1-2 weeks prior), send the editor a short media release with a catchy title outlining the event details (when is it happening, where is it located, who is taking part, what interesting activities are happening during the event and what is the purpose of the event).
If you would like to promote the event to others in the community by publishing an article before the event, then make sure you also send the editor an interesting and relevant high resolution image to accompany the media release and offer an interview. (Examples of photos could be of yourself or your group taking previous social justice advocacy action in your community or even just get a group of people involved in the event to hold a banner or sign bearing your message).
Make sure you tell the editor/interviewer any unique aspects about yourself such as your profession and why you're passionate about advocating for justice (outline any influential experiences you've had such as seeing poverty first-hand, attending Voices for Justice or taking previous action in your community.)
3. After the event (within 3 days), send a high-resolution photograph of your group with a follow up article including the same when,when,who,what,why details as mentioned above. Remember pictures often speak more powerfully than words and make articles more eye-catching to readers so make sure you've taken some good high resolution photos during your event.
4. Follow up with a phone call – the day after you send your article, phone the editor to check that they received your article. Ask them if they need any further information, images or if they’d be interested in an interview.
5. Be persistent! – Don’t be too disappointed if your article doesn’t get published the first time you write, the more letters and articles on an issue the paper receives, the more likely a story will get published!
6. Let us know if you have an article published in your local media, so we can share your story with our supporters on the Micah Challenge Facebook page. It’s always encouraging to see our supporters profiled in local media helping to get justice issues on the media agenda, as part of your advocacy.
Please email our Media & Communications Coordinator Angela Owen or call (02) 9921 3330.