Reporters are busy, underpaid and often do not have time to do research. Therefore, it is helpful to provide a package of information to make a reporter’s work easier. This is often done for big events or launches in the form of a press kit, but is also helpful for smaller stories on issues or topics that are not already in the news.
Provide the information with everything a reporter might need in one place including:
- Credentials and contact information of experts, beneficiaries or activist names. If you want someone quoted, include them on the list and prepare them for interviews.
- Original research and data from government or authoritative sources such as a timeline, polls, legal or policy background information.
- Reference materials such as maps, data-sets, census numbers or original data research with sources included.
- Photos or video links to showcase the visual aspects of the story, or for reporters to use.
Best times to package stories
Don’t miss major events in the calendar:
- Historic anniversaries on your issue
- New Year stories on the year in review or the upcoming year
- Internationally recognized days, check the UN list
- Government budget decisions are an excellent opportunity to talk about funding issue priorities
- Insert your issue into elections, or do a scorecard of issue positions
- Beginning and end of school year for education stories
- Start of planting and harvest seasons
Consider a Variety of Angles
Reporters do not want to have the same story. Therefore, packaged materials can be customized for each media outlet. Customizing the package ensures that the content and contacts are adjusted to respond to the outlets or viewers interest.
Education, economic and health issues cover a variety of angles that can be split in stories or articles. Communities, women, youth, ethnic minorities and disability audiences touch multiple issues in education, health, rights and lifestyles.
Education Angles for Back to School
If education is your priority, here is an example of different angles to consider:
Changes in numbers: More or fewer schools, teacher or children?
Changes in spending: Increases or decreases in funding?
School rankings: Changes or challenges to improve student learning?
School buildings: Improvements to physical facilities?
Teacher training: Improvements expected for teaching or learning?
Safe schools: Protection details, building improvements, parent reassurance?
New courses: Teaching new topics, materials or equipment?
School supplies: What do schools or parents need to provide?
Changes to curriculum: Planned impact on children?
Special education: Programs for learning challenged students?
School food: Food in school or parents provide food?
Athletics: Sport offerings this year or recruitment of child athletes?
Profiles: Exceptional principals, teachers or students to promote?
Parent leaders Concerns about teachers, schools or children’s education?
School discipline New problem solving policies?
Sample Package: Back to School
A package can include an explanation of programs, changes, background, narratives and data. It can also include spending numbers for a program or policy statements that show any changes from the original documents. For example, teacher training stories could include the number of teachers trained, details of the training program, why the program changed and improved and its content.
Media often contact administrators or ministry officials on education stories. However, other groups can get in on the stories, by providing a back-to-school package.