Tips for Making your Event Attractive to the Media What should you think about when planning an event that the media will attend? What: Your event could include an open courtroom where adoptions are being finalized, an adoption celebration such as a picnic and/or a more formal news conference to launch multiple National Adoption Day efforts in your community. Consider offering the media a schedule of area National Adoption Day events, including locations of courts and coalitions that are organizing adoption activities. When: To build on the momentum of events happening across the country, schedule your event on November 18, ideally between 10 A.M. and 1 P.M. (This mid-day time is most attractive to the media.) Where: The ideal location is a courthouse where the adoptions will be finalized. If you are thinking about holding your event outdoors, consider the weather (i.e., have an alternate indoor location in case there is rain the morning of your event or if the weather is too cold). Who: Your coalition’s adoption activities should be the focus of the event. You also can work with other groups and agencies to demonstrate a community-wide effort. The media always takes an interest in the human side of an issue, so look for a family that has a positive story to tell about its experience. Consider inviting community leaders, such as the mayor, a judge or a representative from the court to speak at a news conference. (This toolkit includes sample letters of invitation.) What should the event look like? Signage: If you have a National Adoption Day banner and/or a local banner, it will reinforce the message that your organization is part of a major nationwide effort. (Banner and podium sign templates are included with this toolkit.) Hang posters and banners in the most visible places possible. Cameras will want to get footage of the adoption activity, and the banner should be in that shot. For example, display the banner behind speakers at a news conference, behind an activity booth or table in clear sight, or in the entrance of the courthouse or courtroom where the adoptions are being finalized. Action and visuals: Recruit people to attend your event and get the word out—you need a lot of people and activities to show that the event is a success. You’ll want to show the media that parents are finalizing their adoptions and other people are learning how to start the adoption process—and ideally are doing so in front of the cameras. Post a blackboard and keep a running total of how many families have finalized adoptions. What is the main message of the event and who should communicate it? National Adoption Day event message: On Saturday, November 18, your organization is joining thousands of volunteer lawyers, adoption professionals, child advocates, and local judges across the country who come together to finalize the adoptions of children from foster care and celebrate all families who adopt. In the United States, there are 118,000 children in foster care who need permanent, loving families, and many of these children have been waiting years to be adopted. (See the talking points in the toolkit for more details.) Spokespeople: Assign one or two spokesperson(s) to communicate your message. They should be on hand to respond to the media, convey the National Adoption Day message and describe the activities your group has scheduled. Consider asking a spokesperson who speaks other languages frequently used within your community to participate. It also is important to include families with adopted children that have positive stories to tell at your event.
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