Workshops by jennyyingdi


									Spread the Word: Using media to amplify your action.
   • Overview: New and Traditional Media
   • Use online media to tell your story
   • Use offline media to amplify your story
   • Connect the dots -- online and offline

Overview: New and Traditional Media
Campaigning is all about communicating. You can be very well organized and have everything
detail taken care of, but if you don’t spread your story far and wide, people won’t know it
happened. But have no fear! From getting in the blogs and broadcasting your event on
Facebook to getting covered on TV and in your local newspaper, this session will help you
amplify your action through new and traditional media.

The goal of media outreach is to amplify your event so that it gets the attention of more people
(and decision makers!), both to build for your event and to extend its impact after you are done.
Whether you are Facebooking, calling reporters, or sitting down with bloggers, every media hit
you get will mean your event is seen by more people- so start spreading the word!

Why should we engage with the media?
  ● Put pressure on your targets
  ● Generate Buzz/Hype around your campaign
  ● Educates the general public on our work, puts a local story to climate change
  ● Spread the word & recruit volunteers to your cause
  ● It can be a great energy boost to group members
  ● Advance your campaign
  ● Hold officials accountable (positive or negative accountability)

Define your goals, know your audience, and map out your story
Before you start blasting your event around the new media or calling reporters, go over your
goals and the story you are trying to tell.

Remember your goals
Don’t lose sight of the goals you came up with when planning your event, go over them again as
you begin your media outreach. Do you want to influence a decision or policy? Do you want to
create awareness? Do you want to build support for an activity or project? Do you want to
change behavior? Keep your goals in mind as you craft your message and tell your story.

Define your audience
Once you have figured what you want to achieve through your communication, you need to
think about whom you need to reach in order to meet this objective. This is your audience. You
can have more than one target audience group – this will probably include the targets you
developed in the campaign planning session, as well as the people you want to mobilize to join
your campaign. Develop a profile of your audience – who are they, and what do they care

Develop your message
Keeping your goals and audience in mind, this is when you want to think about the message of
your event. Or, how will you communicate your goals and the reasons they are important to your

A good message:
   • Is specific;
   • Communicates clearly to your audience (will likely change depending on your audience);
   • Is linked to something they care about;
   • Is believable and can be backed up by evidence/hard facts;
   • Conveys a sense of urgency.

Develop your story
If you don’t have a good story, even the best message can get lost. The story is about a more
emotional personal touch to your message. This is the why of your event, and its what people
will take away. Facts and figures are great, but they won’t win hearts and minds.

What makes a good story – what will reporters want to cover?

They don’t call it a NEW-spaper for nothing. The first thing to understand is that reporters,
editors, bloggers, and even folks on twitter are deeply interested in what’s new and fresh. By
contrast, they’re deeply uninterested in anything they perceive as old—as in yesterday’s news.
You should therefore always be thinking up new tactics and actions to call attention of reporters.

Hook Them with a Story Line – everyone covering the news loves stories, here are a few
to try out:

The superlative. Find a way to boast about your action. Is it the “first interfaith gathering in the
area on global warming”? Is it “the longest march in Cairo in a decade”? Don’t make outrageous
claims (“perhaps the biggest” and “among the first” are useful phrases when you can’t prove
your superlative without a doubt).

David vs. Goliath. With the media, it can be an asset to be seen as the underdog – people
always root for the little guy. In discussing, we usually emphasize that we are a handful
of youth climate activists and a writer, and hence a little clueless. This has the advantage of
being both true and interesting, and has made the impact of more unique.

Strange bedfellows. One of journalism’s favorite narratives is the odd couple- people you
wouldn’t expect or who normally don’t get along coming together. For example: Republicans
and Democrats in the US, faith leaders and business leaders, veterans and student activists.
Try teaming up with a local union, religious organization, athlete, or artist: any new alliance can
make for a good story.

Pay attention to current events and link your news to them. Was your elected official
recently in the news talking about climate change or clean energy technology? Was your
community recently affected by increasing pollution, an oil spill, or climate change related
weather event? Take the opportunity to call up the media and relate your action to what they are
already covering.

The run-up to an international meeting where climate change will be discussed also presents an
opportunity to bring local issues to the attention of the media and to generate public debate.
Think Visually. Climate change is a challenging issue to convey – it’s abstract to most people,
and happening slower than your typical disaster. That’s why staging actions that help visualize
climate change can be very powerful for the community, and the media. One example is a group
of activists in Beirut, Lebanon that wrapped caution tape around the city at the potential level of
the ocean if it would be inundated by sea level rise.

Use spokespeople to make your message count

Use the right messenger
Having a good message is not enough; it is important to
use the right messenger. A popular musician or athlete is
likely to be a more influential messenger among young
people than a scientist or politician. On the other hand, a
decision maker or politician may be more receptive if
technical specialists and community members deliver the

You don’t have to be famous to be a good messenger. If the goal is reaching an elected official,
often they want to know what their voters think. That means community leaders, whether small
business owners, moms, or teachers, can often have a huge impact. Everyday people
dedicating themselves to action on climate can deliver a powerful message.

Photos – they say 1,000 words.
The visual for your event is as important as your spokespeople, it is one more way to deliver
your message to the wider public, media, and fellow 350 volunteers. Your action photo is KEY,
its your best tool for leveraging your event in the media and the community after the fact. Here
are just a few tips on getting it right:

Plan it: Use your message and goals when coming up with the image you want people to
remember. Make sure you plan out photos before the event, and think out what props or signs
will help tell your story.

Designate a photographer: it could be a professional, a volunteer, a friend – whoever you can
find who is reliable and can take a good photo.

Put it on the agenda: make some time in your event schedule to get everyone together to take
a photo. Nothing’s worse than realizing everyone’s gone home before you can take a photo to
remember it. Some questions to ask yourself: Will you have a lot of people? Where could you
take the photo from to get a shot of the whole crowd?

Send it to email your photo to so that we can help get it out to your
fellow supporters across the globe!

Now you are ready to start looking for and getting media coverage!

Use Online Media to Tell Your Story
The Internet and evolving forms of communicating have made it harder to know what is and isn’t
media. For organizing, the definition of media you want is any media that people read. Anyone
who creates content that is read by a number of people on or offline should be considered
media, and you should use any and every type of media to amplify your story and event. There
are tons of online tools to help you spread the word online from email to facebook, and from
twitter to the blogs.

In the previous session, you took a few minutes to analyze your audience. When you are
thinking about your new media outreach, think about where your audience goes to find out
about local news and events. That’s where you want to be!

We feel strongly that the Internet is best used to get people together face-to-face, for action on
the ground -- using online tools, however cool at times, are not an end in themselves. We see
the web as a tool to help save our threatened planet. Tackling global warming is going to require
an unprecedented level of collaboration and communication at every level of society—and that’s
precisely why it’s so vital that we learn to take advantage of the connections that the Internet

The web is just one tool in your toolbox – if you don’t have a compelling strategy, narrative, and
action plan, your Facebook group won’t make up for that. So before you start online, make sure
all of your outreach is part of your larger strategy. It often takes three or four contacts with a
person to get to attend your event, and new media is just one of those opportunities to connect
with people! With that in mind…

Using online media, you can:
   ● “Crowd-build” for your event
   ● Attract the attention of traditional media
   ● Get the attention of elected officials and community leaders
   ● Amplify your message after your event

Online tools
When thinking about online tools and media, remember that they are not separate from the
offline world. Just like in other mediums, people are more likely to help you out if you meet them
in person or talk to them over the phone. Think about including online asks when you talk to
people offline. With that in mind, a few tools to help multiply your impact online:

Blogs: A great way to build buzz for your event is to reach out to folks already active and
blogging in your community- and get them to write or post about your event! Reaching out to
bloggers is similar to reaching out to reporters, try to connect with them by phone or in person if
possible, or email them if that is the only contact info you have. Introduce yourself, let them
know why you care, and ask them to help promote your
event. Try offering to write a guest blog if they are short on      Practical Tip:
time, or give them a ready made flyer that they can easily          Want to get one more invite in
post.                                                               to media or elected officials?
                                                                  Add them to your facebook and
Want to really get their attention? Make sure to know what        twitter, and invite them to your
they write and care about before you contact them. Bloggers       events online! Sometimes
who write on progressive issues, the environment, biking, or      seeing the large list of RSVPs
even community events are great folks to reach out to.            is enough of an extra push to
                                                                  get a reporter to show up!
List Managers. Community organization, online
communities, or even informal community groups often have large email lists. Remember the
rule above, anyone with a large number of readers or viewers (whether on email, youtube, or a
blog) counts as media! Ask folks in control of email lists to send out information about your

Remember, you can create your own list as well! Update volunteers and supporters interested
in your event regularly by email. When your list of supporters gets too long, think about creating
your own listserve! Google Groups are a great way to send emails to large groups of people
without risking them getting flagged as junk.

Social Networking. The first rule of organizing is meeting people where they are at: so get
online and start meeting people where they are every day -- on social networking sites! Create a
page for your event on facebook, tweet about it, and consider looking into what other online
communities your supporters are a part of. ‘Friend’ new supporters on facebook and follow them
on twitter to keep them updated on your events and make sure they feel in the loop.

Photo sharing. Uploading your photos online after an event provides a one-stop shop for
reporters, bloggers, and supporters to pick up images for articles and to send to their friends. A
picture is far more powerful than your words in describing an event, and often will move folks
who didn’t make it to your event to cover it after the fact.

Web sites like Flickr [] allow you to create centralized online albums of photos and to
contribute photos to public “pools,” or groups of photos around an event, a theme, a city, a
neighborhood, or anything else you can think of. Make sure that you tag your photos 350ppm
and upload the best ones to as soon as your event is over. You can also send any
photos you have to, and they will show up in our flickr feed automatically.
Always upload the highest quality photos your web connection will allow.

Video sharing. There are only a few big players in online video, with the most dominant being
YouTube []. After registering on their site, you can easily upload videos and embed
any video in your web page or blog. Make sure to tag your videos with 350ppm. If you have a
high-quality or very large video you'd like to post, Vimeo is also a good service. Video has the
added bonus of making your facebook page, blog, or website more exciting for visitors, and
gives your friends and partners a reason to share your content with their friends.

More on emailing: how to become an email guru.
Though it may not be the most exciting tool in the box, email is nonetheless the cyber-activist’s
single most powerful weapon. Some tips to writing a compelling email:

Keep Your Message Focused. Keep it short and sweet to avoid ending up in the trash. Keep
each message focused on one-two action items at the most.

Make an ‘ask’. Make sure every email you send has at least one clear way someone reading
can act on the information you give them. While your rate of success in getting people to
volunteer or participate will always be astronomically higher when you call or talk to them in
person, email is still a great way to layer your asks, remind people of what needs to be done,
and every once in awhile get a few extra volunteers!

Examples of clear asks: Come make calls with us on Tuesday at 6pm; sign up to table with us
on Saturday between 9am and 1pm; join our next planning meeting Thursday at 6pm.
Break Up Your Text. If you absolutely have to convey a lot of information in a single message,
make sure to break it up into small chunks. Avoid long, stream-of-consciousness blocks of text.
Instead, break down the information using bullet points, underlines, and bold formatting.

Nail the Subject. You get fewer than a dozen words, and you need to make the most of them.
Make it catchy, use a hook, and keep it as short as possible!

Double Check. Ask a friend or colleague to proofread if you can, and make sure to re-read it for
content, spell checking, and grammar.

Make a video.
Consider taking video as a compelling way to get the word out before your event, document
your action, and amplify your impact. Make your video stand out:

    ●   Make a storyboard or quick outline of your video before shooting so you know what
        shots you need to take, archival footage to find, or photos to include.
    ●   Focus on what’s fun, funny, or what you’d want to watch.
    ●   Avoid the talking head. There’s nothing less interesting than watching 3 minutes—or
        even 30 seconds—of a person talking at their desktop computer’s webcam.
    ●   Choose lively locations for your shoot that are interesting and play up your local angle.
    ●   Take steady, easy-to-watch shots that can be easily spliced with other video.
    ●   Keep it simple, and edit quickly. In the case of documenting an action, making a
        simple video that you can edit and upload quickly is key – people want to watch that
        night or in the coming days about the march they just took part in. Don’t worry about
        being perfect – just get it out!
    ●   Add some music – adding a great song over footage can make a video really come
        together. Just be sure to credit the artist!

Use Offline Media to Amplify
your Story                                               Practical Tip: Know your Audience
                                                         Track the types of stories that local
Newspapers, radio, T.V. news: this is the stuff of       newspapers, radio and TV stations like to
traditional media, and it’s the stuff that gets read     cover that fit into the stories you’ll be
and watched by your elected officials and                pitching. Journalists already writing similar
reaches the most people. All of thee mediums             stories to yours are more likely to show up
offer you an opportunity to reach a wider                to your event, especially if you let them
audience when promoting your event, and to               know you’ve been paying attention. Which
amplify the impact of your event after the fact.         reporter likes to cover stories of ordinary
                                                         folks trying to fight The Man? Does your
Recruiting media to cover your event is much
                                                         local paper always cover events that
like recruiting a new volunteer or folks to attend
your event: its about building relationships,            happen at Central High? Who likes to write
selling your work by making it seem like the most        about churches or students involved in
exciting thing happening, and confirm-confirm-           community life? If you know who reports
confirming.                                              the sort of story you want to place, you’ll
                                                         have an easier time selling your story.
Getting media requires putting in the time and
the effort: building a relationship, sending a quality advisory/ invitation, calling to invite them in
person, and confirming they are going to show up. This section will cover timelines for your
media plan, the how-to’s of advisories and releases, and how to maximize your coverage.
Working with reporters

Create a Relationship.
The temptation when dealing with reporters is to send a press release and leave it at that.
Ignore that impulse! Press releases drift into newsrooms like snowflakes in a blizzard.

A better idea: Get to know reporters and editors long before you need them for your story. Call
or email and ask if you can meet with a potential contact for ten minutes early in your campaign.
Journalists want to know the people in their communities who will be making news, and get a
sneak preview of your plans. (Tip- this is also a great way to introduce yourself to bloggers!)

Once in the office, lay out the basic plan for your campaign and how it relates to your
community (and how it relates to what they write/ care about), the things you plan to do in the
lead-up to your event, and the kinds of people you have involved so far. This isn’t the time to
press for commitments—all you’re doing is establishing a relationship and demonstrating that
you’re a helpful source.

Choose a Media Coordinator
The first step to meeting your media goals is identifying ONE member of your team to be your
media coordinator. This person will hold the initial meetings and build relationships with
reporters and editors- they will also edit your media advisories and templates, make follow up
calls to press outlets, and coordinate with media at any events. The media coordinator doesn’t
necessarily need to be on camera, but they should be capable of identifying good messengers,
capable and confident enough to speak in public, and optimistic and knowledgeable enough to
sell your events to reporters. Your media contact should also be easily available- it doesn’t
matter how great a person they are if they don’t return emails and calls from press quickly!

Web-based trainings, media lists, and phone support are all available to media coordinators
through’s central media team: so this is a great roll for a talented person interested in
new skills!

Build Last-Minute Buzz
In the final twenty-four hours before your event, you want to create an overwhelming sense of
urgency around it in the newsrooms. Don’t worry any longer about a single point of contact.
Have 6-10 people call the news tips line (leave individual confirmation calls to your media
coordinator) for every outlet the day before and of your event. Precisely because news is a last-
minute business, journalists are set to cover things on the spur of the moment, and you want to
provide that last push to get them into action.

Pitching your story
Tips for pitching your story:

   ●   Keep it short! Your contact is likely busy, so try to summarize your event and
       motivations in 3 sentences.
   ●   Be friendly! Being pushy won’t make them any more likely to show up, think about it like
       you would think about recruiting someone to show up at your event: you have to sell it.
   ●   Call between 10am and 2pm. These are often slower times of day, so you are less
       likely to interrupt while they are trying to meet a deadline.
   ●   Don’t forget the details: Who, what, where, when, why, and make sure to ask if they
       are attending.
    ●   Have a hook. Why is this news? What makes this event special? What’s the local spin?
        High school students? Teachers? Local small business owners? Unexpected community
        leaders or alliances?

Interviewing Basics – Appointing and making a Powerful Spokesperson:

Appoint Spokespeople. This section is full of great skills for everyone, but remember previous
advice about messengers. When deciding on spokespeople for your event, choose stories and
people who fit into your message.

Identify, train, and use your spokespeople as much as possible. Include your most interesting
spokespeople in press advisories and releases, and make it clear that they are available for in-
person or phone interviews in the week leading up to your event!

Spokespeople are great for building excitement for an event, streamlining the message that
comes out of your event, and generating press, through interviews, after the fact. They don’t
have to be famous- they just have to have a hook and fit into your message. What makes them
interesting? Sell them like you would sell the story- and your whole event will benefit!

Practice, Practice, Practice: it takes time to master the art of using interviews to further your
message instead of simply responding to questions. With practice comes confidence: your goal
is to deliver your message as concisely and clearly as possible!

Keep it short! The trick to getting the story you want in print or on TV is to only give the
message you want. Like in the previous exercise- try to practice saying your goals, your
personal motivations, and even describing your event in no more than 30 seconds each.

Personalize your message. Leave the wonky lingo for the halls of Congress; emotions win
supporters and volunteers over facts every time. Use a personal touch as a part of every quote
and quip. Some examples: “As a mother of a child with asthma, clean air is hugely important to
my family.” OR “As an avid hunter and angler, the ability to enjoy the outdoors is important to
me- that’s why I want to see laws in place to protect our environment against climate change.”

Name your enemies: Once you personalize yourself, don’t be afraid to call people out. Is your
local elected official holding up progress on bike lanes? Is your Senator leading the charge in
climate denial? Or are they selling out to dirty energy industries instead of representing you?
Name them. For example:

“As a mother of a child with asthma, clean air is hugely important to my family. Sherrod Brown’s
vote to gut the Clean Air Act was unacceptable, and it put special interests before the health of
my family.”

If you don't know the answer, say so – never guess! Nothing is "off the record.” A great way
to deal with this, especially if you are talking to a print journalist, is to offer to get back to them
when you have the information they need.

Pivot! If the question they ask you is irrelevant to your story and message, pivot! That means
that you move away from the question, usually with a connecting word, and then answer with
your own message.
Stay calm and confident! Speak slowly, pause if you need to, and try to relax on camera- it will
make you look more confident.

Activity: Interviews and Pivoting!

You are a part of Columbus, Ohio, USA’s team, and you are hosting a massive bike
rally for Moving Planet. Your team is expecting 3,500 cyclists to meet up at the Ohio State
University Campus. From there, cyclists holding a 25 foot puppet of Senator Sherrod Brown
holding sacks of dirty energy money and other cyclists towing 5’ x 5‘ signs decrying Senator
Brown’s vote on the Clean Air Act will ride across town to a final rallying point in front of the
State Capitol. Rally goers will demand that Senator Brown stand with them in fighting for a clean
energy future, and the event will end in a rally and program in front of the State Capitol featuring
the Mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman, and a number of local religious leaders. The major
demand of the event: that Senator Sherrod Brown stop letting Dirty Energy industries influence
his votes on clean air and climate legislation.
TOTAL TIME: 45 min.

1.   Gather in small groups.                                                                 2 min
2.   Using the scenario above and your actual personal story craft a 30                      8 min
     second pitch to media about your efforts.
3.   Practice making pitch with a partner. Each try once and provide peer                   10 min
     coaching after each person. Reflect on the most and least influential parts
     of each pitch/ story. What was most compelling? What was superfluous?
     What should they focus on next time?
4.   Pivot exercise (see below).                                                            10 min
5.   Return to full group and reflect on lessons from the exercise.                         15 min

Pivot! Now that you have a bit of feedback on what works best from your story, lets mix up!
Interviewers rarely ask you the questions you are prepping for: so now we are going to practice
fitting your message into any question. That’s when we pivot! After your facilitator shows you
what a pivot is, get back into your groups. The interviewer’s job is to ask an irrelevant or
provocative question, and the interviewee’s job is to take that question and “pivot” to their pitch.
Take 5 minute per group and try it out! At the end, take a moment to reflect on what works and
what doesn’t. Good connector words? Things to include? Things to leave out? Did you
personalize it and then name your enemies?
Record your notes, and own critiques here:

Your media plan and toolbox.
To really maximize your coverage: lay out a timeline so that you don’t miss any opportunities.
Here, you will learn the basics of a good media timeline and also the basics of writing press
advisories and releases.

Getting the media to cover your story is an art – but anyone can do it – and there is a simple
and important formula to follow.

Below is an ideal timeline for getting maximum coverage pf your story. As you can see, it can
be quite a bit of work. Get started early, designate a person on your team to be the main press
contact, and follow the basic timeline below:

   ●   1-3 months before – start building relationships with reporters and bloggers as well as
       researching who is writing about events/ stories like yours.
   ●   1 month before- community calendars! Now is the time to make sure your event is
       listed in every community calendar in town: try newspapers, blogs, radio shows,
       organizational websites, etc.
   ●   5-7 days before – send media advisory by email; include info on interesting
       spokespeople able to do interviews by phone or in-person.
   ●   3 days before – follow up with a phone call to pitch the story and make sure they
       received the advisory
   ●   1 day before – Re-send advisory, follow up by phone with confirm calls.
   ●   Day of – confirm they are coming!
   ●   Next day: send your press release!

Reminder! Do not call reporters to ask if they got your release. They do not have time to
respond to every release they receive. Instead, call them to pitch the news and remind them
about the release. Be prepared to send another if the first one was misplaced.

Media Advisories
Media advisories inform the media about an upcoming event, like a march or rally: think of it as
an invitation. Just like an invitation, the goal of an advisory is to grab the reader’s interest and
make them want to come. What’s the hook that makes this the do-not-miss event? No need to
get caught up in long descriptions, this is more of a teaser: it is sent about a week before your
event. Follow it up with a phone call to really sell your event.

It should include:
• “Who” is organizing the event/activity, including what makes them interesting.
• “What” the event or activity is, including your hook. (i.e. puppets! Street theatre! Students and
elderly people riding bikes together! Etc.)
• “Where” the event is, just the name and address is great.
• “When” it is, basically just the date and time.
• “Why” it’s newsworthy. (Re-state hook, why it matters, brief background of why now)

Below is a sample media advisory for an event:

Contact: Molly Haigh, 907-750-1999,

                                ******* MEDIA ADVISORY *******
      Local Families to Rally at Senator Brown’s Boston Office to
 Link Clean Air Act Vote to $1.9 Million in Fossil Fuel Industry Related
                          Campaign Support

   Rally is accompanied by 15 ft Scott Brown puppet holding large bags of money and
                 crowd-funded ads in Boston T stops targeting Brown

Boston, MA: This Friday, dozens of Boston area families are gathering in front of Senator
Brown’s Boston office with a 15-foot effigy of the Senator holding large bags of money to protest
his recent vote to gut the Clean Air Act and the nearly 1.9 million dollars poured into his
campaign by the fossil fuel industry and related front groups.

WHAT: Rally in front of Sen. Scott Brown’s district office of concerned local families with signs,
and a giant 15 foot puppet of Scott Brown holding bags of money, denouncing Sen. Brown’s
vote to gut the Clean Air Act. The rally will be followed by a march and chants through Quincy

WHO: More than 50 concerned local residents.

WHERE: Senator Scott Brown's office -- 15 New Sudbury Street, Boston, MA, followed by a
march through Quincy Market.

WHEN: Friday, May 20th from 12pm to 1pm

VISUALS: 15 foot tall “Scott Brown” puppet, two “fat cat” puppets named “Coal” and “Oil”,
children and families carrying signs, chanting, and singing.

The campaign drawing attention to his vote will also include ads in the Boston T connecting the
dots between Senator Brown’s recent vote to gut the Clean Air Act and the over 1.9 million
dollars of campaign support he received from the fossil fuel industry and related front groups.
The ads, which were crowd-funded by Massachusetts’s residents with the support of climate
campaign, will be going up in the Boston subway in the coming weeks. Both actions are
part of a nationwide backlash against politicians that recently voted to gut the Clean Air Act.
Every year, coal pollution results in 251 deaths in Massachusetts. According to, the fossil fuel industry and related front groups poured over 1.9 million dollars
into Scott Brown’s election in 2009. Local residents organizing the rally question whether Scott
Brown’s judgment was clouded when he sided with polluters to gut the Clean Air Act.

Press Releases

Press releases are what your ideal article for an event would look like. The goal is to give
reporters all the information they would need to write a story, even if they didn’t show up. Here’s
a basic guide to how you can structure your press release:

In an email, the subject line is RELEASE: Your Headline. Copy and paste the rest of your
release into the body of the email, and bring print copies to your event.

Headline: Include the most important/interesting news, in no more than 7 words. This is your
chance to grab attention!
                                                                Press Release Tips
Introductory paragraph: Short, hard hitting.
                                                             (from the SPIN Project)
Describe the event, including your hook.
                                                 •   Write a strong headline or stacked headline
Second paragraph: Focus on the issue.                that includes your hook.
                                                 •   Make the first paragraph short and hard-
Quotes from key people: pack in your most            hitting.
interesting information, the punch line, and     •   Don’t include jargon or political rhetoric.
your most compelling story in miniature to       •   No mission statements, unless you hide it in a
influence the feelings of readers. Make sure         quote.
to include at least one personal quote, and      •   Keep it short and snappy- one or two sentence
always a quote by someone from your                  paragraphs are fine
climate group – preferably the leader.           •   Never write more than a page.
                                                 •   Don’t be repetitive
Next, present and explain the solution – i.e.    •   Use large readable font.
why you are taking action, and how we will       •   Don’t overcrowd it with information: let each
solve the problem.                                   paragraph have one big idea only.
                                                 •   Review the press release: double check every
                                                     fact, name, date and quote.
2nd quote: You can also add a quote at the
                                                     Get a 2 pair of eyes! Make sure someone
end of this paragraph.                               else reads the release and gives feedback
                                                     before you email it out.
The last paragraph in the press release is
your demand. What are you asking for? What is your goal?

Now you need to put your contact details so that the media can contact you for more information
and materials (photos, more facts, etc.)- this is also where you include information on speakers
available for interviews.

Add ### to the bottom of the press release – this is so that reporters know where the critical
information ends.

After the contact details, you add the editors‘ notes, which can include: a short paragraph
(maximum 5 lines) about and your local climate group – i.e. who you are, and what you
Sample Press Release:
5/ 20/11
Molly Haigh, 907-750-1999,

   Local Families Launch Campaign to Connect Senator
Brown’s vote to Gut the Clean Air Act to $1.9 Million in Fossil
             Fuel Industry Campaign Support
  Raucous Friday Rally at Brown’s Boston Office is accompanied by
               crowd-funded ads in Boston T Stops
BOSTON, MA: Starting Friday at 12pm, as a 15 foot puppet of Scott Brown alongside two fat
cats named “Coal” and “Oil” were hoisted into the air, more than 50 mothers, kids, and
community members gathered in front of Scott Brown’s office to decry his vote to gut the Clean
Air Act.

Rally attendees held up a jumbo version of an ad they funded soon to be plastered across
Boston T stops, the text read: “Senator Brown: On April 6th you voted to gut the Clean Air Act.
Was it because dirty energy companies and their corporate front groups poured more than $1.9
million into your campaign last year? Are you working for people or Big Polluters?”

Vanessa Rule, a Somerville resident and mother of two organizing the rally explains the
importance of both the ads and the action in front of Brown’s office: “As a mother of a child with
asthma, I find it unacceptable that Scott Brown voted to gut the Clean Air Act,” said Rule. “We
want to know if he took that vote because of the 1.9 million dollars Big Polluters spent to support
his election.”

Rally attendees started in front of Scott Brown’s office at 15 New Sudbury St, and continued on
a march through Quincy market to spread the word on Brown’s vote, with the puppets rising far
above the raucous attendees.

 “This isn’t about partisan politics, it’s about accountability. Scott Brown should be representing
his constituents, and this vote to undercut the Clean Air Act put the interests of big polluters, like
coal plants, over our families. It was unacceptable,” said Josh Lynch of Jamaica Plain, MA.

The ads targeting Brown’s vote will appear in Boston T stops in the next two weeks. Both
actions are part of a nationwide backlash against politicians that recently voted to gut the Clean
Air Act, with residents of Ohio taking similar actions against Senator Sherrod Brown (D, OH).

Every year, pollution from coal-fired power plants causes 251 deaths in Massachusetts, not to
mention countless asthma attacks. The Clean Air Act is the only protection communities have in
combating the pollution from coal plants, which includes arsenic, lead, mercury, and carbon
pollution that lead to climate change.
According to, the fossil fuel industry and related front groups poured over 1.9
million dollars into Scott Brown’s election in 2009.
Review, and connecting the dots.

Final tips!

    1.    Start by looking at your goals.
    2.    Figure out your story.
    3.    Write your media time line, and appoint a media coordinator to see it through.
    4.    Identify and train your messengers.
    5.    Reach out to new and traditional media reporters to build relationships.
    6.    Use community calendars.
    7.    Leverage twitter, Facebook, and online networking to contact traditional reporters, and
          promote any traditional media you get through new media to create buzz.
    8.    Send your advisories well in advance with personal emails, and follow up with phone
    9.    Use your spokespeople to promote your event through pre-event interviews.
    10.   Send a catchy press release with a link to photos after the event!
    11.   Don’t forget to contact the 350 communications team if you have any questions!

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