As an informed young person, you can help educate your peers and your community. If you are part of a group that would like to address HIV/AIDS, a media relations campaign is one of the most effective ways to reach the people you want to get through to (your target audience).

The first step is to review what your group is trying to accomplish with its communication programme. This will help you develop effective media activities and messages. Ask yourself:

Two keys are needed to open the door of interest for the media:
1. Understanding what the media want in a story.
2. Making sure that the information is provided to them in a clear and timely manner. Types of news media

There are several categories of news media: television, radio, newspapers, magazines. They can each play useful roles in any media campaign, providing you are aware of their different characteristics, deadlines and ways of using media material.

 MEDIA

CHARACTERISTICS

DEADLINES 

 Television

 

• A highly-visible medium that can reach large audiences, particularly in industrialized countries.
• Good for reporting stories that visually show the importance of your message.
• Huge competition for broadcast time.
• Stories are brief (30 to 60 seconds)

• The day before to alert the newsdesk, particularly if you are planning a live event or activity.
• 10am for the 6pm or evening news for last-minute events or announcements.
• Three to eight weeks in advance for public announcements.

 Radio

 

• Both national and local radio are usually hungry for news stories.
• Uses 10 to 15 second ‘sound bites’, short statements that you can use to sum up your key message and actions. Sometimes longer interviews.
• Have your spokesperson practice before going on air. Speak clearly and firmly, don’t hesitate in responding to questions.

 

• Allow several days notice for public events that need outside coverage.
• The same day is usually fine for studio-based news items.

 

 Newspaper

 

• Provides more in-depth treatment of a subject.
• Print reporters may use direct quotes from press releases and statements, or interview spokespeople directly.

• By 2-3pm of the day before for a daily newspaper.
• Three to five days before the newspaper comes out for a weekly paper.

 Magazine

 

• Targets specific segments of the public
• Can enable you to explain complex health and behaviour issues

• Two to eight weeks before the magazine is printed, depending on whether the magazine is published weekly or monthly.

Making the most of the media

Before the event, track your media contacts by having your group call the media you want to reach, find out the name of the news editor or specialized correspondents and gather contact information and other details on a simple form. This will make it much easier and more efficient to issue your press release to the right people.

Press releases should include in no more than one to two pages the five W's and an H:
WHO is involved
WHAT happened
WHEN did it happen
WHERE did it happen
WHY or HOW did it happen.

The first or ‘lead’ paragraph should answer these questions in one or two sentences. The second and third paragraphs should include a ‘colourful,’ interesting quote reporters can use in their article. The rest of the release can provide more detail on what you have and hope to achieve.

Your news release may target specific groups, such as people of different age groups, ethnicities or genders. For best results, it should announce something new or topical. Some suggestions for releases include:

If the pack is accompanying a press release about a special event, you could also include biographies of people involved, such as speakers or guests, and copies of relevant materials, such as a report being released, statements to be given or speeches.

Tips to boost your success

Good planning is the key to a successful media event or activity.

Two weeks ahead of your event:

The day before the event:

 On the day of the event:

After the event

For more helpful information consult (This link opens in a new window and will take you to non-UNICEF web site.)

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