ONE-TWO WEEKS BEFORE EVENT
__Get or make a media Outlet list for your areas (check out the “how to make a media list” document in the toolkit
__Prepare media advisory and press release (see samples in toolkit)
TWO DAYS BEFORE EVENT
__ Call reporters about the event, and email the advisory. You should send the text within the email, instead of an attachment – most reporters’ spam filters filter out attachments. In your phone calls, you’ll have about 30 seconds to tell them the WHO-WHAT-WHEN-WHERE-WHY of the event. Try practicing your pitch on your home voice mail or with a friend. If you get a reporter on the phone, double-check their email address to send them your advisory. Call back to make sure they received it. Ask them if they are planning to cover the event; try to get a commitment. Don’t get discouraged, they will probably not commit.
__Call the Associated Press (AP) and get the event in their “Daybook”. The AP of your state circulates a schedule of daily events to all of the media outlets in your area. Find their number in the phone book or information, and tell them you have an event for the daybook. Email them your media advisory and follow up with a phone call to make sure their received it.
__Prepare press packets. Include your media advisory, press release, and fact sheets. This packet should be distributed to the press at your event.
__Designate a media liaison and greeters. Have a set of people prepared to deliver the message to reporters. Have standard Bhopal info at the ready (~150,000 still affected, little help from government on healthcare, economic, social and environmental plights, as Dow evades liability for cleanup and beyond). Practice fielding questions and role-play sound bites (with short, concise points) as your answers. See the sample talking points for good sound bites.
MORNING OF ACTION
__Call media contacts once again. Email reporters your press advisory one final time. Try to get a commitment that they will attend.
__Bring press packets and a sign-in sheet for reporters who attend event
AT THE ACTION
__Find them – don’t wait for them to find you. Control the media – don’t let them control you.
__Have several “sound bites” ready beforehand. Saying these, and repeating them if necessary, is more important than answering the reporter’s questions.
__Don’t make long-winded speeches; they’ll be edited to death.
__A press packet prepared beforehand with detailed information will help.
__Do what you can to make the audience well informed – it looks bad for them to say, “Well, uh, I guess I came cause, well, yah know, I’m really concerned about stuff.”
AFTER THE ACTION
__Follow-up with all reporters who attended and make sure they have all of the materials they need. If you took digital pictures, offer to e-mail them the pictures. Use this time to thank the reporter and build a relationship with him/her.
__Email your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org for use on the website and national media efforts.
__Post your event to your local Indymedia website – www.indymedia.org
__Look for coverage of your event on the news or in your paper. Record and clip articles. Contact reporters who covered the event to thank them.
__Write Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor.