Media alerts are one-page announcements of an upcoming event, intended for journalists, not the public. Their purpose is to convince reporters that this event is a genuine news story worthy of coverage. Send your alert to all journalists in your media market who might be interested in covering your event, and don’t forget wire services (like Associated Press), which frequently produce “daybooks” of newsworthy events. Find some inspiration from this media alert from a past Lights On Afterschool event.
Some tips about media alerts:
- Media alerts are excellent tools to use to attract media to your afterschool events. If a newsmaker like your mayor, governor, state or federal senator, or Member of Congress is attending, make sure to emphasize it.
- Media alerts can be written in narrative form, like the example that follows. Or they can be written in bullet form, answering the questions: What, When, Where, Who and Why. Regardless of the format, a media alert must announce an upcoming event or press availability.
- A media alert should say when an event is, where it is, and what and whom reporters will find there. It should also offer a compelling reason for media to attend.
- Send your media alert a week in advance of the event. Then update it with any new speakers and re-send it a few days before the event. Then make a round of phone calls to reporters on your list, including assignment desks, to make sure they’ve seen it, and to encourage them to attend.