How to Get Press Coverage for Issues and Events

Learn how to get press coverage for issues and events, includes nine steps to take to gain press coverage and tips to get reporters on your side of the story.

| November/December 1977

How to get press coverage. Use these nine steps for getting the press to cover an issue or event.

How to Get Press Coverage

The press is the lifeblood of every environmental battle. Unless citizen activists can obtain fair, accurate, frequent, and in-depth coverage of an issue, nine times out of ten the battle will be lost. One of the prime reasons why the Tocks Island Dam battle was not lost was because dam opponents were extremely adept at obtaining coverage in every newspaper in the region including The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as on major networks.

One of the leaders of the Tocks battle, Mina Hamilton Haefele, a former reporter for Associated Press and Newsweek, attributes this success to the assiduous application of the following principles.

1. Be compassionate. Reporters are notoriously underpaid, overworked, and subjected to the unremitting pressures of last-minute deadlines, late hours, and irascible editors.

Many reporters, particularly on local newspapers, suffer from bitter inferiority complexes. The hometown reporter wants to get out of the boondocks, wants to move to The Wall Street Journal, wants to be an NBC newsman, wants to write a novel. He/she does not want to be where he/she is. Treat this individual as a human being, and the results will be surprising. (But don't expect immediate dividends.)

2. Be supremely polite and friendly. Introduce yourself at press conferences and hearings. Get on a first name basis. Always compliment the press on stories well done — even if they're not your stories. Stay friendly, especially with those who haven't yet covered your issue adequately or fairly.

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