A project of the Afterschool Alliance

Sample Media Alert

Use our sample media alerts (also known as media/news advisories) to inform reporters about your upcoming Lights On Afterschool event, and convince them that it's a genuine news story worthy of coverage.

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.
Sample Text

(on your letterhead)



Contact: [your program/rally contact]
[daytime phone number]
[evening phone number]


8,000 Rallies Nationwide Aim to Make Afterschool Programs Available to All
[Your program name] to Hold Lights On Afterschool Rally October [XX]


The [your program name] afterschool program will sponsor a Lights On Afterschool rally on [date and time of event]. The rally will be one of more than an expected 8,000 such events across America as part of Lights On Afterschool, the annual nationwide celebration of afterschool programs organized by the Afterschool Alliance. This year, Lights On Afterschool will highlight youth voices in the upcoming national election, encouraging kids to share their thoughts with the next president and teaching them about our electoral process. 

Speakers in [your city/town] will call for expanding afterschool opportunities so that every child who needs a program has access to one, and discuss the benefits of afterschool programs, including inspiring children to learn, keeping them safe in the hours when juvenile crime peaks, and providing relief to working families. At the event, parents and supporters will sign a petition that urges lawmakers not to deny or divert funding for afterschool programs.  

Participants in the Lights On Afterschool rally include [list high-profile guests by name, like the mayor, city council members, local business leaders, educators and other officials].  The event will spotlight the range of programming available at the [name of program], including its [add some specific offerings, particularly those focused on STEM, academic support, physical fitness, and those featuring community partners.] Hundreds of parents, supporters and community members are expected to attend.

  • What: [your program or city name] Lights On Afterschool Rally
  • When: [date and time]
  • Where: [location, address]
  • Who: [noteworthy guests and speakers, ie: the mayor, school board chair, local business leaders] parents and supporters of afterschool

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is Founding Chair of Lights On Afterschool, a position he has held since 2001. 

[Amend the following section to the specifics of your program]

The [your program name] opened in [year opened] with a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant from the U.S. Department of Education.  It now serves 250 children, providing homework assistance, mentoring, tutoring, and classes and clubs in sports, recreation, mathematics, chess, and dozens of other subjects.  The program is a collaboration between the school system, YMCA, Museum of Arts and Sciences and three local colleges.

The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality afterschool programs.  More information on Lights On Afterschool is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.