School Nutrition Media Release Tips and Templates by qpv40869

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									       School Nutrition Media Release: Tips and Templates
Legendary newsman Daniel Schorr famously observed, “If you don’t exist in the media, for all
practical purposes, you don’t exist.” Want to improve your media existence? Want regular,
accurate reports about your school nutrition program in the local media? Want local reporters to
call you about breaking child nutrition stories in the national media?

There is one surefire way to get the media coverage you’ve always dreamed about: Develop
positive relationships and consistent communication with local reporters for both print and
electronic media. There are many ways to develop a good rapport with the media, including
press conferences, letters to the editor, and regular interviews.

Whatever your setting – big city or small town, large district or K-12 building, the most
important tool in any media campaign is a media release (AKA a press or news release). Create
a steady stream of interesting releases to the media – and they will see your school nutrition
program as dynamic and newsworthy. You can use well-written releases to:
 Promote specific events, like National School Breakfast Week (NSBW)
 Announce program changes, like new foodservice options (breakfast-to-go)
 Promote healthful options, like more whole grains (whole wheat breakfast pizza)
 Celebrate your successes, like getting kids to eat more fruit (fruit bar at breakfast)
 Comment on national trends, like ethnic foods (spicy breakfast burritos)

In terms of format, your school district may already have a template for media releases – and
maybe even have a public information officer to help you get your message out. If not, here are
some tips and a general template for a school nutrition media release. We’ve also included some
real media releases from real schools and organizations – along with a few resources for
additional help – all designed to make your media releases irresistible!

Media Release Essentials
Every media release needs to start with the following information:
 School or department name: The release should be on letterhead, if possible.
 Contact information: Name, phone, fax, email address, and Web site (if available)
 Release date: May be a specific date or “For immediate release”.
 Headline: This is a short phrase that sums up the essence of the release.
 Body: This is where you explain the who, what, where, when and why of your story.

Reporters and editors are very busy people. You need to capture their interest quickly – and keep
their attention from wandering away to other stories.
 The first paragraph, the lead, should grab their attention and focus on the topic.
 Sentences and paragraphs should be short - and use plain language (no jargon!).
 Use quotes, whenever possible, as the human face of your news.

For additional strategies and ideas, download the American Public Health Association (APHA)
Media Advocacy Guide (http://www.apha.org/about/news/mediaadvocacy.htm). The School
Nutrition Association (SNA) (http://www.schoolnutrition.org/) provides many media releases
about general issues and national events (e.g., NSBW and National School Lunch Week), as well
as an extensive media kit for SNA members.

*This information is generously shared by Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, Nutrition for the Future, Inc.
                                INSERT SCHOOL LOGO
                                         or
                               USE SCHOOL STATIONARY


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:

___________________________ (Contact name)
___________________________ (Title, e.g., School Nutrition Director)
___________________________ (School name)
___________________________ (Telephone number)
___________________________ (Fax number)
___________________________ (E-mail address)

SMART NUTRITION IS ON THE MENU IN ____(insert name)____ SCHOOL DISTRICT

New kid-friendly choices focus on improving both health and academic performance

_______________ (city), ____________ (state) – ____________ (date)

Some healthy new items have been showing up on the breakfast and lunch menus in the ____(insert
name)____ School District. And, to the amazement of many adults, kids from kindergarten to high school
are enjoying good-for-them foods – even __(insert food)__!

“We recognize the importance of school meals in children’s lives,” says School Nutrition director
___(insert name)___. “Our foodservice staff carefully plans breakfast and lunch menus that provide the
nutritional balance which helps our students be fit, healthy, and ready to learn. Over the past _(insert
timeframe)_, we have made some real improvements, like (describe specific changes - more fresh fruit
and vegetables, more whole grains, reduced fat salad dressings, baked chips, lower fat cooking
techniques, use of new kitchen equipment, etc.).

With an enrollment of (insert number) students, __ (insert name)_ District cafeterias serve over (insert
number) breakfasts and (insert number) lunches to students lunches per month. “It’s been easier than we
thought to get children to eat more of the foods that are good for their bodies and their brains,” says
Nutrition director _(insert name)_. “With all the healthy changes we’ve made, we’re thrilled that our
participation rates have actually increased during (insert timeframe).”

National surveys show that many youth are overweight and even more are undernourished. Poor eating
habits mean that significant numbers of children do not get the recommended amount of key nutrients,
like vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and fiber. Serving more nutritious choices at school breakfast and
lunch helps provide the brainpower students need for academic success.

Changes in school meals are just some of the many ways that __(insert name)__ School District is
focusing on the critical connection between student health and performance in the classroom. “When
children are well-nourished and physically fit, they are better able to pay attention in class and do well on
tests,” says __(insert name of administrator or wellness leader)__ “In addition to teaching smart eating
habits in the cafeteria, we are also (describe other improvements in school wellness, nutrition or physical
activity - water, milk, and lower fat snacks in vending machines; nutrition education; before school
walking programs; more time for physical education; etc.)
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