Doing your own media work
This page is focused on EVENT PROMOTION. If you want to do a media campaign for an "issue" in general, go back to the [Media WG page], there are media experts available to guide you. But please don't expect anyone to do the work for you.
SUGGESTIONS FOR DOING YOUR OWN MEDIA
- Write a press release. See the blog posts at the [Occupy Boston press release archive] for examples. The basics include: what's the event about, where/when, contact info, why people should care. Keep it to a couple of paragraphs and include a picture of some sort.
- Write to the firstname.lastname@example.org to get it posted on the OB blog/website. If that doesn't work, try the community forum list.
- Make up an "email version" of your press release, so it's easily forwardable. If you put the information into the "body" of the email, rather than attaching a file, it's more likely to be read. Put a photo AFTER an intro paragraph close enough to the top that you can see it when the email opens. But far enough down that if it doesn't get through the email network, that there's still a little basic info at the top, where/when/what. INCLUDE A LINK for more info.
- POST EVERYWHERE. Facebook, Twitter, you name it, you post to it. Link to it. Here's a list of suggested twitter and other [OB media channels] And if you would like to send a mass text to the @obupdates group, fill out the following form: http://www.occupyboston.org/text/
- FLYER EVERYWHERE. Although not generally a "media" task, if the media doesn't see your event EVERYWHERE, they won't become curious and read your materials in detail. Here's a page with some flyers that you can modify/use.
- CALL THE MEDIA NEWSDESKS. At least 2-3 days before the event start calling the newsdesks to ask for EVENT COVERAGE. You can (and probably should, IMHO) call them a couple weeks ahead of time in the hopes of getting PRE-EVENT coverage. To get that coverage, you generally need to track down a reporter that is interested, or get a commitment from the editorial staff. This is very difficult, and requires many, many phone calls and emails. But it can be worth it.
- MAKE SURE TO REGISTER ON CALENDARS. Each media outlet has calendars, both online AND in print. There are usually different processes for each. For example, to register for an event on the Globe's online calendar, there's an online form to fill out. NOT ALWAYS does the online form reach the print version of the Globe. So you have to track down those people. Get a hard copy of a Globe and note the instructions for submitting calendar entries for the print copy.
- DO NOT IGNORE the INDY Media...there's an active Independent Media community in Boston. See the list of indy media outlets below.
- The main[Media WG page] has (if you SCROLL WAY DOWN) a bunch of great articles about how to construct press releases and other useful resources.
- Make sure to report your event to the "newsdesks" of major media outlets in the region, especially those that cover Occupy. For a list of media resources and contact info, see the Resources Section, below.
- Make sure to drop calls to key reporters, columnists and broadcast newshows, in addition to sending in press releases. You can get their emails usually at the bottom of a column or a print article they've written. And you can call the main number of their publication and ask to be routed to their voicemail. I usually leave a couple of messages. One to introduce the event and to tell them that I'll be sending them an email with the details. And one to follow up to make sure that they got it. Then just before the event, I'll call to tell them of any changes...really to remind them, but using some small change as an excuse to call. For really super important events, I might actually drop a hard copy something in the mail to them, with something neat drawn on the envelope, so that they will pull it out of the pile first. Stars, or something colorful.
- Note that people in print news LOVE PICTURES. If you send something with text-only, it's more difficult for them to notice you. Also, be aware that some photos look "just like all of the others". So if you are sending a picture of a "protest" or a "march", try and choose a picture that says something specific, not just showing a bunch of people with signs too far away to read.
- Don't forget Facebook and Twitter. See if you can get OB Media to post to the OB resources. But also see if you can get your friends to help spread the word. There's a list of [OB links] Always make sure that the task is done. The Media WG has very busy volunteers. And it's up to each of us to make sure things have actually been done.
- Your personal email lists are more powerful than you may think. Try and get friends how post to blogs and have other lists to spread the word.
- Occupy Boston Calendar. Don't forget to fill out the Calendar Event form to get your event listed. Make sure that contact info is listed so if people have questions, they can find you.
- Newspaper Calendars. Make sure to get your event listed as soon as possible in the newpapers. It usually takes at least a week to actually get it posted. Here's a handyList of Boston Media Event Submission Links
RESOURCES, including media contacts
The "official" [OB Press List] Please use it sparingly. Like only for events that are GA endorsed.
Here are a couple of media guides with handy links:
- List of Media Outlets in Boston sorry it's so lame, please help
- [Statewide Activist Announcements Listserv] to post your event.
- [Mondo] (Press, Radio, Etc) Scroll down to see the links to media outlets. Click on a link and then scroll down AGAIN to see specific info for each news outlet. BUT, you have to log in to actually get contact info. But at least it tells you the name of the publication and something about it!
- [list of newspaper email contacts] Most of the major publication emails are for Health editors. But the smaller pubs have top editor level emails.
- [Links to Newspaper websites] (including letters to the editor links) This one gets you the websites for local and regional publications. Note that the top link of each is to the main website for each publication. And the bottom link is for the letters to the editor. Generally, letters to the editor are only printed for people that work or live in the community that the paper serves. That's with the exception of regional news outlets like the Globe, Herald, Pheonix.
The Globe, Herald, and the Pheonix have "calendar" listings that should be notified. The Boston Globe also has a weekend "Magazine" edition that should get a copy, in case they want to do a feature.
Unfortunately, the editorial calendars of each publication is different. But the general rule of thumb (based on my little bit of experience, which might be more than you know. if it isn't, please edit this) is that the deadline for weekly news items and features is either Monday or Friday mornings. Note that the Sunday editions often have different editorial calendars. The bottom line is that if you want to get something into a weekly editorial cycle, it's best to start weeks ahead of time, no more than 3 weeks before the event, writing and calling. Look through papers and see which columnists write about topics that are similar to your event/issue. Email those folks directly.
For me to get decent press coverage from the Boston Globe, I've had to contact like 5-10 people, including the newsdesks, the calendars, the columnists, reporters, and the general submittal process.
Of course, it's easier to get press when your issue or event is connected to something that's already in the international news. But if it's not, then getting coverage requires more than just sending in a press release.