Journalists are always looking for the next story, which gives you the opportunity to make them interested in your story. Building strategic and long-lasting relationships with the media is crucial for successful dissemination. If you have access to a media or a public relations officer within your organization, it would be a good idea to seek their advice. Approaching the media and establishing a network of journalists is a long process, and getting help from a colleague might ease your way towards your goal of getting media coverage.
Look at possible channels for approaching the media and attracting their attention. This can include press releases in written and audio formats and press kits, press conferences, press briefings or special media events. A strategic relationship with the media might include an environmental page every week in one particular paper. Depending on the nature of your announcement, you need to find the best way to communicate with journalists. UNEP has been practising real and virtual media tours to attract the attention of international media. For several years, UNEP held eco-journalist festivals in Central Asia.
You will need to develop a story line, and assemble and package the vital findings of your research and the key messages from your assessment. Again, seek advice if you can. Common practice is to proceed with a short (about one page), clear and understandable (non-technical) press release. Communicate the press release openly by putting it on the website, sending it to main news agencies and to your journalist network. Look for a good opportunity to launch your message, such as a political event, a scientific conference or a high-profile social event, or an on going debate. You may also organize a media event dedicated solely to the IEA.
Box 9: Preparing a press kit.
When launching an IEA report, you will benefit from preparing a press kit for the participants on the event. Journalists are often too busy to search for information or to read an IEA report from cover to cover. A press kit helps journalists to use your information, improving your chances of getting media coverage.
The contents will vary, but always include background information on the organizations behind the report, an executive summary of some way of highlighting the key findings in the report, a press release and some graphics.