Contacting Your Local Media
Viva! contacts regional media regularly about campaigns. However,
local media are especially interested in hearing from local people and
will be much more likely to cover a story if they hear directly from
you. Ask to be put through to the newsdesk for newspapers and the newsroom
(immediate stories) or forward planning dept. (forthcoming events) for
radio and TV. Try to establish personal contact with journalists so that
you can speak directly to them in the future.
All your media will have a central newsdesk but many will also have local
offices. Call them to find out contact details for your nearest office
- they will be more interested in your local stories. It’s best to
mail a press release in advance and then chase up by phone the day before
your event/campaign launch. For TV and newspaper coverage, it’s good
to emphasize the visual element of your event. If you are organizing a
special photocall, it can be worth contacting the photo desk of newspapers
as well as the newsdesk.
Viva! also has an up-to-date national and regional media database including
fax numbers and email addresses: don’t hesitate to get in touch if
you need our assistance.
You should be able to find contact details of all your local media in
your yellow pages.
1. Regional Daily Newspaper: All areas have a big regional daily or evening
2. Regional Weekly Newspaper: This should be available at your local newsagent.
3. Free Regional Weekly Newspapers: You probably have at least one of
these delivered to your home each week.
4. BBC Local Radio Station: These mostly cover a whole county. BBC radio
stations tend to include more news and chat items than independent stations.
5. Independent Radio Station: Typically include shorter news items but
are still interested in covering local events.
6. BBC Local TV Station: Send information to the newsroom and look out
for specific local news programmes that you can mail to directly (eg ‘Look
7. Independent TV Station: Your local ITV news programme.
8. Local news agencies: Many towns have news agencies which network stories
out to local media.
Talking to the Media
Many people feel nervous about speaking to the press but it really isn’t
difficult to do. Despite their reputation, reporters are usually polite,
helpful and accommodating – after all, they need you to help them
fill their airwaves or the pages of their paper. If you’re organising
a protest they’ll often want a quick quote which you can prepare
beforehand – and which Viva! will always be happy to help you with
if you like.
If the media contact you and you don’t feel ready to speak to them
at that moment, you can simply tell them you’re busy and will phone
back in a few minutes. Then you can think about what you want to say, check
up on facts if you want or even phone the Viva! office for advice. Remember,
they will probably print or broadcast only a very short comment from you
so try to think up a single, short statement which sums up the campaign
and what you are trying to achieve. (If you’ve got a specimen press
release, we’ll already have done that if you want to use our quote).
You don’t need to know the subject inside-out but a little knowledge
of the basic facts about the campaign may be handy – Viva!’s
leaflets will contain more than enough facts you’ll need to know
for a typical short interview. Be polite, don’t be too negative – even
if you personally feel very angry about what you’re protesting against,
anger and insults don’t come over well to the general public and
it is the public we are trying to influence. People tend to be sympathetic
to animals and will often be willing to agree with you. Always emphasise
that the listeners/readers can help the animals by changing what they eat
or where they shop and, of course, by going vegetarian. Mention Viva! so
that people know who to contact for more information about the campaign – if
you can, mention that free “go Veggie” packs are available
from Viva!. But remember, you won’t be speaking to Jeremy Paxman!
The reporter will almost always help you to look and sound as good as possible.
Viva! will normally prepare a specimen press release for you for our campaigns,
which you can adapt for your local area but if you’d like to find
out more about how to write a press release, click here
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