Working With Your Media Office

If you are lucky, your hospital, university, or even department will have a crack media office. If you are even luckier, they will offer you support. Knowing how they work, and how they want team members to work with them will help a great deal. Here are some tips for working with your media office (also called a public information office or a public relations office).

Writing a Press Release

A press release is often a good way to share the word on the good work you are doing. The goal is to quickly and succinctly share your critical news and explain why it matters -- using the simplest language possible. Here are two great resources that can help you develop a great release.

The Knight News Release Workshop constructs model news releases, compares well and poorly written headlines, and offers tips on drafting effective quotes. It was created by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to aid non-profits in developing news releases, so the tips are very targeted to the types of releases you may need to develop.

Advanced Press Release-ology: How to Prepare Releases That Get Results -- and Win the Respect of Journalists by David M. Freedman for Community Media Workshop in Chicago gives excellent advice on writing press releases that get noticed.

Promoting an Event or Research Finding

Beyond the standard press release, there are multiple ways to promote your event or research news.  A media advisory paired with a backgrounder might yield better results. As with most decisions, it is about knowing your audience, and understanding what you want them to do with your information.  Our promotion tip sheet will walk you through the decision process, while the resources noted below may help too. 

Working With the Media

Talking to a reporter can be challenging, but there are ways to make it easier, more comfortable, and get the results you are striving for. As with most things, the more you do it the better at you’ll become. Our working with the media tip sheet here will help you convey your key messages crisply and memorably! The links below from Nancy Schwarts and Andy Goodman are also worth a review.


Additional Resources

Three Steps to Better Media Coverage from Nancy Schwartz & Company provides useful tips on not just how to generate a good press release, but when and how to send it out.

Pointers on Pitching from Andy Goodman explores pitching a story to the media from both sides of the release.

How to Get a Reporters Attention from Nancy Schwartz & Company is an excellent primer on reaching out to the media.