Send Press Releases to Assignment Editors, who decide if their outlet will cover your event, issue, etc. They also provide content for those unable to staff the live event.
- If you want reporters to cover your event, send them a “Media Advisory,” a one-page notice sent one week before the event to alert reporters to attend. A day later, make follow-up phone calls, using your advisory as a reference.
- A Press Release, sent the day of event, covers what happened, your group’s position on the issue, etc. However, one press release sent before the event is enough if there is no need for media attendance.
- Make your Press Release headline strong so it grabs the editor’s attention. You can add more info in a “sub-head.” Write using newspaper style, the “Inverted Pyramid,” putting the most important info in the first paragraph. Make their job as easy as possible.
- Be sure to communicate the benefit of the issue or event with an eye to the audience of the press outlet you are targeting with the press release. The editor wants to know, “Is this relevant to my readers?”
- Use action verbs, be succinct, with short sentences and short paragraphs. Try to limit the release to one page. Get to the point immediately: who, what, where, when and why. End with ### centered at bottom.
- Avoid sounding like you are selling something or asking for donations. Avoid jargon and hype. You want to offer editors interesting story ideas. Have someone read your draft and help edit it.
- Do not send your press release as an attachment to an email message unless instructed to. Send the press release itself in the body of the email. This avoids the possibility of being blocked by a spam filter. Spam filters may also block your press release sent via bulk email senders such as Mail Chimp (and many others). Editors and journalists are not your fans, followers, customers, or members, who are typical audiences for bulk email senders.
- Be aware of lead times, the amount of time the outlet needs between receiving your release and printing your story or info. (Some magazines may need two months.)
- Try to include a photo or visual element with the Press Release, even a head shot of the person quoted.
- Be sure to list the name and phone number and/or email address of the contact person for your group, also include the release date for your press release
- You may follow up with a phone call to make sure they received it and to answer any questions.
EXAMPLE PRESS RELEASE:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 15, 2019
CONTACT: Paul Gibson or Roxanne Barber, Co-Founders, Retake Our Democracy
PHONE: (Add phone here.)
New Report Card Reveals Who Has Real Power in NM Legislature
SANTA FE, NM – July 15, 2019 – We can no longer tolerate New Mexico’s 49th or 50th place on so many social and economic indicators. We did well in the 2019 Legislative Session, but we can do much better. The 2019 New Mexico Legislative Report Card from Retake Our Democracy reveals the inner workings of our state’s legislature––the good, the bad, and the mind-boggling. This report will inspire people to show up, speak up, and take action to make the changes we need in our state.
Retake Our Democracy volunteers tracked 46 bills during the 2019 Session, compiling and distributing researched talking points, showing up at hearings, taking detailed notes, and talking to legislators. Thousands of constituents around the state used Retake’s daily Action Alerts to educate themselves about the issues, understand the bills, and advocate with their legislators by email and phone. Sixty-five percent of House and Senate Democrats voted 100% in support of our 46 bills, yet more than half the bills died in committee without ever being heard.
How can the Senate Finance Committee kill 179 bills (42% of all bills sent to the committee) without scheduling any of them for a single hearing? How can the House Appropriations & Finance Committee kill 138 bills (55% of all bills sent to the committee) without scheduling any of them for a single hearing? The Report Card uncovers the undemocratic power of several committee chairs and how the system status quo perpetuates and reinforces that power.
We also put a spotlight on eight Senate Democrats who too often side with Republicans in their attempt to kill valuable legislation, even though research shows that the majority of New Mexicans support decriminalizing abortion, legalizing recreational marijuana, restricting hydraulic fracturing, and promoting community solar and local choice energy.
This Report Card is an example of what a community of determined and dedicated volunteers can do by organizing, showing up, paying attention, and sharing what they learn with others. For democracy to work, it’s up to all of us to educate ourselves, to engage in the democratic process, and to take action. Read the Report Card today!
This Report Card does an excellent job of going beyond the political theater and on-the-record votes to begin to unearth how lobbyists, political insiders, and powerful elected officials orchestrate our legislative process.
Former State Senator Eric Griego, Executive Director, New Mexico Working Families Party
Retake Our Democracy has put out a comprehensive report card that goes beyond typical report cards and delves into the legislative process and inner-workings in New Mexico.
Viki Harrison, Director of State Operations, Common Cause New Mexico
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Retake Our Democracy is a volunteer-based non-profit organization committed to making personal and collective activism easier and more effective. Our goal is to build grassroots power to successfully advocate for social, racial, environmental, and economic justice at local and state levels.