Module 3: Understanding the media
One sure need at all newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations is material to fill up their pages and their broadcast time. You must only supply them with the material they need in a way they can use it. Lets look at some of the criteria they all use in deciding the stories they cover.
* * *
You should present your story ideas keeping the above angles in mind, and also keeping in mind the different styles of the media:
Print media: provides more in-depth coverage. Print reporters typically have more time and space to spend on a story. Stop just short of writing the story for them ... reporters resent that. But make their job as easy as possible with prepared releases, press packets, quotes.
Television: Pundits call television pictures with words. Indeed, television viewers are looking much more intently than listening. Think visuals as you put your story concept together. Think action, think background, think color. Use brief quotes, called sound bites. The total words in a full 30 minute newscast would only fill 3/4 of a newspaper page if transcribed. You need to be succinct. Television is the primary news source in America. Its important to use it well.
Radio: Heres opportunity for more accessible coverage with talk shows, news and public affairs programs. Radio is the most immediate of all the media. You can be on radio RIGHT NOW if your news warrants it. The average American spends 3 hours a day listening to radio. Something important to remember about your radio presentation: radio broadcasting dulls your personality and your energy level over the airwaves. The listeners have no facial cues, no gestures, only your voice and inflection. Boost it almost to the point of sounding silly.
Internet: More and more companies are taking their message directly to their customers and public through self-generated online content. The company can provide a controlled message to a worldwide audience quickly, efficiently, and economically. As Internet access improves around the world, we can expect this to become a first-line source of mass communcation. A writing style for the Internet is like writing for broadcast media: short, bright bits of information targeted at a limited attention span.
Module 4: Effective media releases: how to write a press release and get it published; holding a press conference; the press kit.