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Megan Rider

Work submitted to Newspaper/Press Release

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I am exploring the option of using newspapers for another realm of outreach. I am curious what people have experienced with it. What types of things have you submitted? Do you feel like it has been beneficial? Do you have an agreement with the newspaper on price or do you pay the normal price for each entry. Any experience you have to give on this topic is appreciated! 

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Hey Megan, 
We regularly submit press releases to our local news outlets, including radio, TV, and newspapers.  Being in a more rural area, there are some outlets (typically the smaller weekly ones) that pick up the piece, pretty much un-edited, every time. However, the bigger news outlets maybe pick up one or two pieces a year. These generally have pretty good reach, with the pieces for events (come to this workshop!) getting more measurable response than those for general info (Have you seen this plant?). However, this could easily be because we have more a chance for face time with those readers than the "informational" pieces, where there isn't an action item, which I like to think means those same people are reading all of the pieces we send in. The audience we have from press releases is also older in general than the total demographic of our area, since those are the folks that still get papers, listen to the radio, or watch local news stations. 

One of the Districts we work with does have a standing paid quarter page every other week in a small local paper. It's something the public really likes, but certainly isn't a huge "bang for the buck" on smaller grants. 

One of the best things about sending out regular press releases, though, is that your local news sources start recognizing you as a resource on the subject. For instance, when there was that big media blitz on Spotted Lanternfly in the spring, we never wrote a press release, but got multiple calls for statements or interviews, since we had worked with those folks before. Even if you don't get a huge circulation, having the CISMA's name out there more never hurts!

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Hi Megan, 

I agree with Nor. Your smaller, local papers will pick up a lot more than the large newspapers. It's great to use them to highlight upcoming events. We have never paid for advertising- we just send press releases for our larger events. 

If you can find the local contacts for your papers, you can start to build a relationship with them. In our past CISMA outreach/communication workshop, our participants were told some tips:

  • Sending the press releases to individual contacts instead of a mass list helps to ensure that it will be looked at and hopefully placed in the paper.
  • If you attach a document, place the text of it in your email too, as attachments aren't always downloaded.
  • High resolution photos with captions and a photo release are good too! 
Edited by erin.jarvie

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I do not think you should have to pay anything to get information about your CISMA into your local newspapers. We regularly submit press releases about stuff we are doing, and they often publish them. Also, we occasionally provide feature length articles to several of our local papers and they use them. I suppose it depends...the Detroit News might not publish your stuff, but smaller cities, like Cadillac, Ludington, and Big Rapids, are often happy to have free quality content to include for their readers. Also, I make sure to let local reporters know they can call me on slow news days, and they do. Presenting at County Commissioner meetings has proven a great way to meet up with the press, as they always have someone there. Just some ideas from my experience.

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