Gaining Coverage in the Media: Sound Advice for all Non-profits

December 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

The Chronicle of Philanthropy just posted a transcript of today’s online discussion titled Getting Good News Coverage: How to Persuade Journalists to Cover Your Cause.  Participants include Matthew L. Hale of Seton Hall University and Jan Still-Lindeman, senior director of public relations at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The discussion is applicable to all non-profits.  The participants emphasize establishing and building relationships with journalists, and discuss the social media and blogs as methods to share news and build support.  Though much of the advice is basic, I recommend taking a look.  Here are some key ideas I took away from the discussion:

  • In addressing the problem of static web pages, Mr. Hale suggests the use of a sophisticated blog, substituted for a webpage, and therefore easier to update.  This may be helpful to organizations that lack the resources to keep a website up to date.
  • The moderator points out the common problem that organizations tend to “hide” the name and contact information for their press contact.
  • Importance of linking what we do to the big picture, or as Mr. Hale puts it, “the current obsession.”
  • Positioning ourselves as experts in our area and how it links to greater societal movements and issues.
  • “Pack Journalism:” a pretty self explanatory expression, but basically journalists tend to follow each other to the big story, or “current obsession.”  Mr. Hale shares a particularly amusing anecdote about how to gain attention for a political campaign in L.A. during the O.J. Simpson trial.  Essentially, the campaign goes to the LA Courthouse where the media are camped-out. 

The conversation is insightful, and reminds us we have to remain vigilant in nourishing the relationships with journalists, and continually find creative ways of linking our story to the “current obsessions.”




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