Choose numerous media outlets to send your story to based on the importance of the issue and the extent of investigative resources necessary to properly explore the story. Look for a phone number or email address on the media outlet's website. Send them a brief note explaining the existence of the story, including any significant developments that have occurred since it was first published, and ask if they are interested in speaking with you about it.
If they agree, then set up a time to meet at a convenient location for both parties. During this meeting, review what information you have regarding the subject and discuss how it might be best presented to the media. Be sure to obtain written confirmation that you have all the permission you need to publish before going ahead with the story.
Multiple outlets can sometimes help spread the word about a story if one single source doesn't seem to be reaching enough people. For example, if there is an important hearing/vote coming up and you feel that your story would make for an interesting article, then consider sending it to several newspapers as well as radio and television stations.
It is also helpful if you can include a self-addressed stamped envelope so that they can keep track of requests for interviews from other journalists.
How to Get a Local News Story (the Right Way)
Here are five quick methods to discover an article, whether it's a feature or a news item.
The following are the processes to having a story featured on national television:
Make contact—call your newspaper's news desk and give them a quick overview of the story. Inform them that you have a press release (and, if applicable, a photo) and ask for the best email address to send it to. Make a note of who you spoke with so that you can follow up easily.
Write a short but accurate summary of the story in your own words and send it to as many newspapers as you can think of. Always include your name and contact information on any correspondence with journalists.
Some publications may call or email their reporters directly with news tips or questions. If this happens, be sure to mention it when you give your initial contact report to a paper.
Finally, some papers will publish an embargoed article. This means that they won't run it until some time has passed after it's been published online. An example would be a science journal that publishes new studies every week; to keep pace, newspapers need weeks, not days, to print all their articles. So, to meet their deadlines, journals will put restrictions on how quickly others can reproduce their findings.
There are certain factors that all competent investigative reporters should bear in mind when writing the story:
The next step is to contact the journalists and reporters on your original press list who may be interested in your news article. This may be done by email, phone, or social media, though I prefer the former. Cold calling is too intrusive, and social networking is often ineffectual. Use one of these methods for maximum impact.
If you send an email, make sure to follow up later with another message. Most journalists are busy people and may not have had time to read through their entire inbox. Make sure that you don't spam them with repeated messages; this will only cause them pain and could even get you removed from their list.
When contacting journalists via email, it's important to do so at a time when they're likely to be interested in your story. For example, if there's an upcoming event related to your topic, such as an awards ceremony or conference, then send an email asking them to consider covering your story as speakers/panelists/judges etc. are usually available for interview at such events.
It's also helpful if you include links to other material that might interest them. For example, if there's an article about how your topic has been affecting more and more people each year then please do share it with them!
Finally, remember to be respectful of journalists' hours and avoid contacting them after office hours or on weekends.
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