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									              Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health—Blueprint
             Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for Older Adults

                                   Working with Mass Media
Mass media offer many opportunities for health messages including:

                Public service announcements (PSAs)
                Mentions in news programs
                Entertainment programming
                “Magazine" and interview shows (including radio audience call-ins)
                Live remote broadcasts
                Editorials (television, radio, newspapers, magazines)
                Health and political columns in newspapers and magazines
                Internet pages and links

Each format offers a particular advantage, and each may reach a different audience mix. As you
plan and implement your health promotion campaign or activities, incorporate a variety of
formats and media channels, always choosing those most likely to reach your target audiences.

Table of Contents
                 Advantages and Disadvantages of Print and Broadcast Media
                 Ensuring Good Media Coverage
                 Working with Local Publications for Older Adults
                 Getting the Best from Rural Media
                 Using the Internet

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                 1
Chapter 3
              Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health—Blueprint
             Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for Older Adults

                                  Working with Mass Media

Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Types of Media

The purpose of television is generally to inform and entertain, not to educate. Still, there are
advantages to using television for your health messages.

   The advantages are:

                Visual as well as audio presentation makes emotional appeals possible, and
                 provides an easier way to demonstrate a behavior
                Television can reach audiences not as likely to turn to traditional health sources
                 for help
                Opportunity exists to include health messages via news broadcasts, public
                 affairs/interview shows, dramatic programming

   Disadvantages include:

                The passive consumption of information by TV viewers usually does not move
                 them to action
                Viewers must be present when the message is aired. Choosing the right time and
                 the right channels is expensive
                Since television often does not require the viewer’s full attention, the message can
                 become obscured by commercial "clutter"
                PSAs could potentially reach the largest range of audiences, but they are not
                 always aired at optimal times. Deregulation ended government oversight of
                 station broadcasts of PSAs and public affairs programming
                PSAs can be expensive to produce and distribute

        Paid advertisements may be more affordable on local cable channels, but the audience
        may be limited


   Advantages for radio are:

                The various formats presented on radio offer potential for more audience targeting
                 than television
             Opportunity exists for direct audience involvement via call-in shows
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                      2
Chapter 3
               Audio without visual images may make messages less intrusive
               Audio without visual images can engage the imagination to visualize personal
                health better than fixed images portrayed on television
               Radio can reach people who do not use the health care system

    Disadvantages include:

               Although more targeted, radio may reach fewer people than TV
               Radio generates generally passive consumption. Interaction with the audience is
                possible, but the target audience must be listening to the program when it is aired
               Deregulation ended government oversight of station broadcasts of PSAs and
                public affairs programming, which has reduced the opportunities for each of the
                radio formats
               Feature placement requires making a lot of contacts, which may be

        Creating live copy is flexible and inexpensive, while PSAs must fit station format and
        may have limited airtime for the effort


Magazines can offer full-length articles that explain complex issues and behaviors, so they are a
good medium for providing healthcare information.

    Advantages are:

               Because there are so many special-interest magazines, you can more specifically
                target segments of the public (e.g., seniors with an interest in health, ethnic
               Print may lend itself to a more factual, detailed, rational message delivery
               The audience has a chance to clip, reread and contemplate material
               Magazine format permits active consultation, allows information to be easily
                passed on and can be read at the reader's convenience

    Disadvantages include:

               Although there are no requirements for PSA use and they are inexpensive to
                produce, PSAs are more difficult to place in magazines
               Ad or article placement may be time-consuming
               Because articles are generally longer here than in newspapers, you must generate
                commitment from the reader, either through graphics, exceptionally engaging
                stories or a currently relevant news topic

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                          3
Chapter 3

Newspapers provide easy audience access to in-depth issue coverage.

    Advantages are:

               Newspapers can reach a broad audience rapidly
               Newspapers can convey health news and breakthroughs more thoroughly than TV
                or radio and more quickly than magazines. Feature placement is possible

    Disadvantages include:

               PSAs are virtually nonexistent
               The short shelf-life of newspapers limits rereading and sharing with others, with
                the exception of some feature articles

        Small newspapers may take public service ads, but the ad must contain a newsworthy
        item, e.g., a free screening or lecture.

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                        4
Chapter 3
              Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health—Blueprint
             Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for Older Adults

                                   Working with Mass Media

Ensuring Good Media Coverage
Why seek good media coverage?

Good media coverage contributes to effective promotion efforts. Understanding the whys and
hows of media relations will smooth the way to working with editors and reporters and can help
ensure good media coverage in all settings.

Step 1. Give a Local Slant to Your Story and Communicate Early with Media Personnel

               Involve media personnel in developing the local angle during the planning stage
                of a health promotion campaign
               Contact media sources ahead of time instead of building a whole campaign that
                cannot be covered because of space or airtime limitations. Editors and radio
                managers do not want to be the last to be called
               If possible, make any first contact with a reporter, editor, or manager in person

        Remember that everything told to a reporter is “on the record.” Don’t say anything that
        cannot be quoted, and never disparage another person’s or organization’s promotion of
        your message.

Step 2. Prepare Fact Sheets

Fact sheets with information about the organization or program are helpful to all reporters—
television, radio, and newspaper. The fact sheet should include the following information about
your organization:

               Founding date
               Logo
               Statement of purpose
               Community services
               Achievements
               Contact person and phone number for the reporter to call for more information.

The fact sheet may not generate an immediate story, but it makes the organization’s name
familiar and sets the stage for a story on another occasion. The fact sheet also allows the
organization to provide favorable background information for a story.

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                        5
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Step 3. Have a Spokesperson Available at Any Hour

Select and prepare a spokesperson to represent your organization or program. But remember that
the media are more likely to use information on an organization when they do not get the
runaround. A spokesperson must be available at any hour, and media representatives should
have the spokesperson’s office, home, car phone and fax numbers. Give the media a direct line
to the spokesperson’s office. He or she is the designated person to speak to the media and
participate in television and radio talk shows.

Step 4. Make Sure Your Media Relations Are Proactive

Frame health promotion/disease prevention issues in ways that compel media coverage.
Consider the following:

               Use an angle or “hook” that makes information compelling or controversial
                   o Cyclical, calendar-based events can help get the message across. Holidays
                       lend themselves to feature stories connected to promotion messages
                   o Look for national hooks for a story. For example, link national
                       discussions on new findings, such as increase in diabetes cases to local
                       health programs or screenings. Use that information to bring in local
                       coverage. For example, get a local person to talk about using prevention
                       and treatment
                   o Keep up-to-date on government releases as well as publications like the
                       New England Journal of Medicine. If a national source issues a report, be
                       ready to call the local assignment editor with figures localizing the
                       national story

               Find an unusual method of delivery. For example:
                   o To promote a local campaign to stop alcohol- and drug-impaired driving, a
                      popular drive-time radio disk jockey was presented with a breakfast basket
                      tied with red ribbons
                   o An environmental group sent its press release glued to a large plastic
                      container. The station could not help but see it and read it!

               Find an out-of-the-ordinary association with something already in the news.
                For example:
                   o When traces of poisonous substances were found in Chilean grapes,
                       tobacco control activists pointed out that even larger amounts of the
                       substances are found in a single cigarette

               Present an “opportunistic” exploration or elaboration of an issue
                   o A local story can catch the eye of a national TV editor. Television news
                      often seeks a local organization for an angle on a news story
                   o Look for ways to turn a negative story into a positive promotion focus

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                    6
Chapter 3
               Use the telephone reactively
                   o Although this strategy is not used often, it can be effective
                   o When there is a breaking story, call the news outlet and offer an expert or
                       an opinion
                   o Offer not only information on the problem involved, but also present
                       someone who has been looking at the problem in the community

Use News Releases and News Advisories Effectively

Sample Calendar Announcement and Media Release
Sample Calendar Announcement

For Immediate Release                                  Contact: Nancy Ceridwyn
April 11, 2001                                         (xxx) xxx-xxxx or nancyc@abc.org

                                               CALENDAR NOTICE

                                       The American Society on Aging presents:


City College of San Francisco
Downtown Campus
April 5, 12 and 19, 2001

Three half-day workshops exploring aspects of memory and normal aging, current research on
learning and the brain, and prevention activities to maintain mental fitness or slow memory loss.
Designed for people 50 and over.

For more information, contact the American Society on Aging, XXX Market Street,
Suite XX, San Francisco, CA 94103-1824; telephone (xxx) xxx-xxxx; fax (zzz) zzz-zzzz; E-
mail: info@abc.org; website: www.xxx.org.


Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                        7
Chapter 3
Sample Media Release

For Immediate Release                                Contact: Nancy Ceridwyn
March 30, 2001                                       (xxx) xxx-xxxx or nancyc@abc.org

           The American Society on Aging to Present a Series on Memory Retention

The American Society on Aging (ASA) will present the series Memory Retention: Fitness for the
Brain at City College of San Francisco, Downtown Campus on April 5, 12 and 19, 2001 from
9:00 a.m. to noon.

ASA will sponsor the series of three half-day workshops exploring aspects of memory and
normal aging, current research on learning and the brain, and prevention activities to maintain
mental fitness or slow memory loss. Designed for people over 50, the series is one of ASA’s
most popular educational programs conducted by experts in the field.

Leading the first session, “Let’s Start with the Brain,” Dr. XXXXX from the University of
California, San Francisco Geriatric Education Center, will discuss normal aging and memory.
Unlike all other organs in the body, which are basically formed at birth, the brain uses
experiences from the environment to build itself. The more input the brain receives from the
outside world, the more brainpower it develops. “The brain is capable of rewiring itself at any
age,” Dr. XX explains. He will outline the current research on memory and describe how
memory and learning take place.

Dr. YYYYY from the Stanford Geriatric Education Center will address challenges to memory
retention. The second session, “Am I Losing My Memory?” will describe genetic,
environmental and medical reasons for memory loss—many of which are treatable.

“Putting Action into Lifelong Learning: From Research to Learning” is the final session of the
series led by ZZZZZZZ, Ph.D. from Excel, Inc. This practical session will provide the audience
with specific techniques and exercises to enhance and retain memory.

Registrants can attend one or all programs in the series to meet individual interests and
schedules. Registration fees are $8 per session or $20 for the series. Registration forms are
available at all San Francisco Senior Centers or by calling ASA at (xxx) xxx-xxxx.


Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                      8
Chapter 3
News Release

What are the types of news releases?

A news release can be written:

               In advance of an event (to encourage media coverage and public awareness)
               Concurrent with an event (to make sure that key points are highlighted)
               Following an event (to inform the public of what happened)

Major media generally use advance or concurrent news releases; weekly newspapers often use
all three types.

How can my news release catch the attention of the editor?

Most media organizations are inundated with news releases. A release is more likely to be read
and taken seriously when it is:

               Typed on the organization’s letterhead or letterhead specifically developed for
                news release
               Prepared in the standard format:
                   o Top of the page
                            “For immediate release” (and the date of the release)
                            “For more information contact” (and the name and telephone
                               numbers of the contact)
                   o Informative headline or title
                   o Paragraph 1
                   o Dateline
                            What (the event or subject)
                            Where (the location)
                            When (the time)
                            Who (the principals or major players)
                   o Paragraph 2
                            More information about the event or activity
                            A quotation by a spokesperson
                   o Following and final paragraphs
                            Additional information, if necessary
                            Generic text that describes the organization or program (choose a
                               standard descriptive closing paragraph for all news releases)
                            If it continues to another page, place “-more-” at the end of each
                            Paragraphs are not continued to succeeding pages
                            Place identifying information at the top of each page
                            At the end of the release, place “-30-” or “###”
               Dropped off with the assignment editor (whom you have already met), with a
                backup copy to the health editor. Be sure to follow up with a phone call.
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                      9
Chapter 3
If the release is turned down after a follow-up call, ask the editor to keep the organization or
program in mind for future stories related to health promotion issues.

        Include evening and weekend phone numbers in addition to work numbers, because
        editors and reporters often work on weekends and after 5 p.m. If they cannot reach an
        organization or program to verify an upcoming event or get a quote, they may bypass the

News Advisory

When and how do I use a news advisory?

A news advisory—an invitation no longer than a page in length—can be used instead of a news
release to alert the media to a news conference or media event worthy of coverage.

Use the following format:

               Typed on letterhead or news release stationery
               Prepared in the standard format:
                   o Top of the page
                            “For immediate release” (and the date of the release)
                            “For more information contact” (and the name and telephone
                               numbers of the contact)
                            Informative headline or title
                            List the essentials in outline form: who, what, where, why and
                    Place “-30-” or “###” at the end.

        When using an advisory, always distribute a more detailed news release at the event or on
        the day of the event, and send copies to reporters who were not present.

Distributing News Releases and News Advisories

What distribution methods are most effective?

For small community media, hand-deliver mail or fax.

To guide distribution efforts, find out and follow deadlines for daily and weekly newspapers (and
any Sunday editions), television and radio stations, and magazines.

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                       10
Chapter 3
Hold News Conferences and Briefings

When do you use a news conference or briefing?

A news conference takes a more formal format than a news briefing. A news conference usually
begins with a basic presentation followed by an opportunity for attendees to ask questions.

Media kits are distributed before the presentation and should contain:

               A fact sheet (two-page maximum)
               A biographical sketch of leader(s)
               A current news release
               Examples of news coverage
               A copy of the PSA (if distributed to radio/television)
               Black-and-white photographs

A news briefing allows an organization to bring the media together informally and answer
questions away from the spotlight. Responses are also “on the record,” but more background
information can be communicated.

When do you use a news conference or briefing?

News conferences or briefings are best used:
          When the organization or program has important news to announce—like the
             results of a study or the kickoff of a special campaign
          Sparingly, because attendance requires a major time commitment for news media
          As an opportunity to provide the media to capture a visual or a live audio

        Use a checklist for preconference, conference day, and follow-up activities for:

               Rooms
               Speakers
               Budgets
               Media kits
               Refreshments
               Transportation
               Equipment
               Microphones and electrical outlets

Prepare Letters to the Editor and Op-Ed Articles

Most newspapers devote at least one page to opinions, presenting them in, for example,
editorials, letters to the editor, regular columns (both local and nationally syndicated), political
cartoons, and contributed articles.
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                           11
Chapter 3
               Letters to the Editor
                   o If the local newspaper does not provide instructions, call the newspaper
                       editorial department and ask for any specific rules that should be followed
                       (for example, how to address the letter and its maximum length)
                   o Type the letter and include the full name of the author and a telephone
                       number the newspaper can use to check authenticity
                   o Monitor published letters to get a feel for their style and tenor before
                       starting to write
                   o Make sure the letter says something different from those already published
                   o If the letter is a response to an article, editorial or letter published in the
                       newspaper, do it quickly—before the momentum of the story is lost—and
                       refer to it by headline and date
                   o Encourage volunteers, clients or other supporters to write letters about a
                       health promotion
                            Different letters on a single topic will strengthen your case
                            Form letters or any indication of an organized letter-writing
                               campaign will weaken the effort

        Discuss errors in articles in a telephone call to the reporter, rather than in a “set the
        record straight” letter to the editor. Writing a correction letter is a step to take only when
        other avenues have failed.

               Op-Ed Articles and Guest Editorials
                The op-ed section, usually on the page opposite the newspaper’s editorial page,
                generally presents regular columnists (national and local), but there may be
                opportunities for a guest columnist
                   o Ask the editor for submission guidelines. An op-ed piece—usually three
                       double-spaced, typed pages—provides more space than a letter to address
                       issues from the health promotion perspective or to present the
                       organization’s or program’s position when it differs from that endorsed by
                       the newspaper
                   o Be succinct, and avoid going off on tangents that detract from the main
                   o Have another person with writing skills review the article before
                       submitting it
                   o Opportunities for expressing opinions on broadcast media are few, but
                       some television and radio stations air editorial opinions and invite
                       opposing viewpoints. Using such an avenue when available makes it
                       possible to reach a wider audience with a message

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                        12
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Public Service Announcements

What are public service announcements?

In the past, the Federal Communications Commission required radio and television stations to
donate a certain number hours to public service announcements. Since deregulation, each station
has its own policy regarding donation of free commercials (usually aired in off-hours).

Some PSAs are presented as the joint effort of the sponsoring agency and the station. For
example, a PSA might close with: "This message is brought to you as a public service from the
American Cancer Society and Station WXXX."

Public service campaigns include a combination of:

               Television and radio PSAs
               Public service transit ads and billboards
               Print publications such as booklets and posters
               Specially planned events
               Health education activities

Two types of messages are used in these campaigns:

               General messages urge behavior changes (e.g., quit smoking). Many general
                message PSAs are nationally produced and feature celebrities or are created by
                major advertising and production firms. Work with your community station to
                localize the national PSAs with the telephone number of your organization or
               Specific announcements give details of upcoming events or activities (e.g., come
                out for next Saturday’s smoke-out)

How do I get PSAs aired?

               Find out station policies:
                   o Stations often predetermine PSA themes
                   o See if the station conducts meetings about their formats, timelines and
                       other essential information, and get on the mailing list
                   o To keep the PSA off the bottom of the pile, find out the format that the
                       radio station prefers—announcer-read “live copy” or prerecorded on
                       cassette, record, or reel-to-reel
                   o Many stations prefer announcer-read PSAs because they draw attention to
                       their on-air personalities and do not compete with prerecorded paid
                   o Some all-news and talk stations prefer prerecorded PSAs with music
                       backgrounds as a change of pace
                   o Television stations use announcer-read PSAs, accompanied by one or
                       more slides and prerecorded film or video spots. Some stations will
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                    13
Chapter 3
                         request slides or photographs to accompany the PSA; others prefer to
                         produce their own slides
                    o    Hand-deliver PSAs for radio and television at least 2 to 3 weeks ahead of
                         time—more if possible. Include the length of the PSA and a word-for-
                         word written text with prerecorded PSAs. For all PSAs, include a
                         beginning date and an ending or “kill” date. A maximum of three months
                         is a good idea

        Tips for developing TV PSAs:
                   o Keep messages short and simple—just one or two key points
                   o Be sure every word works
                   o Repeat the main message as many times as possible
                   o Identify the main issue in the first 10 seconds in an attention-getting way
                   o Summarize or repeat the main message at the close
                   o Superimpose the main point on the screen to reinforce the oral message
                   o Recommend a specific action
                   o Demonstrate the health problem, behavior, or skills (if relevant)
                   o Provide new, accurate, straightforward information
                   o Present the facts in a straightforward manner
                   o Use a memorable slogan, theme, music, or sound effects to aid recall
                   o Be sure that the message presenter is seen as a credible source of
                       information, whether an authority, celebrity, or target audience
                   o Use only a few characters
                   o Select an appropriate approach (e.g., testimonial, demonstration, or slice-
                       of-life format)
                   o Make the message understandable from the visual presentation alone
                   o Use positive rather than negative appeals
                   o Emphasize the solution as well as the problem
                   o Use a light, humorous approach, if appropriate, but pre-test to be sure it
                       works—and doesn't offend the audience
                   o Avoid arousing fear, unless the fear is easily resolved and the message
                       carefully tested
                   o Be sure the message, language and style are considered relevant by the
                       intended audience
                   o Use 30- or 60-second spots to present and repeat the complete message;
                       use 10-second spots only for reminders
                   o If the action is to call or write, show the phone number or address on the
                       screen for at least five seconds, and reinforce it orally (phone calls require
                       less effort than writing)
                   o Check for consistency with campaign messages in other media formats

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                       14
Chapter 3
Step 5. Identify Media Spokespersons for Your Organization

Who do people want to hear?

In some cases, the person who handles media relations may speak officially, but usually reporters
want statements from persons with more rank.

Therefore, the media relations person generally does the behind-the-scenes work, and the
organization’s executive director, president or chairperson is the designated spokesperson.

How do you keep the story focused?

Having many people talk with reporters is not a good idea, unless it is within a tightly structured
environment like a news conference.

When reporters talk to different people at different times, the stories may not match exactly, and
the resulting story may be negative.

To make sure everyone is “reading from the same script,” limit media relations to a maximum of
three people.

If the media want to talk to “rank-and-file” people, select in advance those who will discuss the
program rather than letting the reporter choose.

        Realize that journalists do not share their stories before publication for proofing or
        positive or negative tone.

               Have your facts correct on all handouts
               Develop an appropriate relationship with the press—helpful and respectful

Step 6. Develop and Maintain Media Lists

To customize your contact information, create an up-to-date media list.

Media lists are available for purchase, but become outdated quickly, and often overlook small,
new and transient publications and programs.

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                     15
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How do I create a media list?

               Use the local library’s reference books on local and national media. The Internet
                and the telephone book are also good sources. Check your sources regularly to
                maintain the accuracy of the list
               Keep the detailed media list in a loose-leaf binder, using one page per media

What should be included in a listing?

               For a daily or weekly newspaper, include the following information:
                   o Name
                   o Format
                   o Circulation
                   o Distribution area
                   o Publication date(s)
                   o Street address
                   o Mailing address
                   o Telephone number
                   o Owners and chain affiliation
                   o Names of key staff, including publisher, managing editor, community
                       service director, advertising manager, news and public affairs directors,
                       and columnists
                   o Relevant deadlines for submissions
                   o Public service advertising, news release and calendar policy
                   o Whether the newspaper contains a letters-to-the-editor section and/or an
                       op-ed page, prints public service news releases, or has a calendar listing

               For a radio or TV station, include the following information:
                   o Name
                   o Location on the dial
                   o Format
                   o Audience
                   o Broadcast area
                   o Hours on the air
                   o Street address
                   o Mailing address
                   o Telephone number
                   o Owners and network affiliation
                   o Names of key staff, including general manager, news director, editorial
                        director, public service director, advertising manager
                   o PSA policy and accepted format (announcer-read or prerecorded on
                        cassette, record, or reel-to-reel tape)
                   o Whether the station has on-air editorials (and provides opportunities for
                        editorial responses)

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                        16
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                    o    Whether the station has locally produced news programming and staff
                         reporters (or is fed through a network affiliation).

        Be sure the media list includes:

               College and university radio stations
               Public radio and television stations
               Wire services
               Local bureaus of national newspapers, magazines and broadcasters

Step 7. Track Your Progress by Monitoring and Measuring Media Coverage

In general, media coverage can be placed in three categories:

               Coverage that is generated through media relations efforts
               Coverage of an organization’s or program’s specific issues that is generated
               Coverage of a health and prevention issue that is not specific to one program

Why should I monitor media coverage? If I just get it in, I’ll be lucky.

              Knowing how the organization and issues are covered allows for a better appraisal
               of media relations and helps guide future contact with the media.
              Monitoring helps you to:
                  o Correct misstatements and errors
                  o Identify persons in the media attuned to health promotion/disease
                     prevention issues
                  o Classify issues that are regularly covered
                  o Position your organization or program properly with respect to national
                     and regional stories
                  o Replicate successful media strategies
                  o Identify areas that need more media coverage

How can I find time to monitor media coverage?

Clipping services provide an excellent resource for monitoring stories that appear in newspapers
and magazines. However, no clipping service can track all the stories, and it may take up to
several weeks before you receive the clips. Clipping services are also expensive. Check for free
clipping services on the Web, which will also be faster. Other options may be available. For
example, the Los Angeles Times offers a keyword search. Other major newspapers may have a
similar service.

Review the major community dailies and weeklies regularly for stories on your organization or
program and on health promotion in general. Clip relevant articles. Volunteers who keep up
with local news can assist in scanning the local papers.
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                    17
Chapter 3
Broadcast monitoring services provide video and audio copies of television and radio reports, but
they tend to be expensive. Use them when an important story is breaking and complete coverage
is needed. Another idea is to ask staff or volunteers to tape the programs. Such homemade tapes
will not have the same quality, but the only cost is for blank tapes. Sometimes the station will
make a copy for you.

How do I measure media coverage?

Media coverage can be measured in terms of quantity, placement and content. Quantity and
placement measures are relatively objective; content measures are more subjective.

               Quantity. How much did the story get?
                  o For print, quantity is measured in column inches
                  o For electronic media, quantity is measured in seconds or minutes of
                  o Convert the amount of free publicity into dollars by calculating how much
                      the amount of space or time would cost.

               Placement. Where was the story placed?
                   o Certain placements—including the front page or above the fold of a daily
                      newspaper, and the opening of the evening television news—reach the
                      largest numbers
                   o For specific audiences, other placements may be more effective. For
                      example, the editorial and business pages of the local newspaper usually
                      have high readership among local opinion leaders

               Content. Is the story positive, negative or neutral?
                   o Consider the totality of the coverage in measuring content. For example:
                           Often the headline grabs attention, but the article itself is reasoned
                              and more neutral
                           A fact or two may be wrong, but on balance the reporting is
                              accurate and positive

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              Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health—Blueprint
             Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for Older Adults

                                   Working with Mass Media

Working with Local Publications for Older Adults
What opportunities are there for contributing to these publications?

In the past, two types of publications have targeted older adults:

               Newspaper and magazines
               Resource directories

The newspapers and magazines are usually free monthly publications that depend on
advertisements to generate revenue. One or two writers cover the events of the region, often
relying on professionals from service agencies to provide news releases or even run regular

Annual printed resource directories feature articles on topics ranging from housing to health,
usually followed by a directory related to the topic. Again, revenue is gained through
advertisements or sponsorships. Local publishers are looking for experts to submit articles.

How are the publications distributed?

Many of the newspapers are distributed monthly to:

               Senior centers
               Grocery stores
               Nutrition sites
               Housing sites

Directories are distributed to similar sites, as well as:

               Physician’s offices
               Banks
               Case management agencies
               Businesses with family elder care programs

How do I submit information?

For either of these types of publications:

               Make personal contact either by phone or appointment
               Share past writing samples
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               Explore with the publisher or editor his or her copy needs and ideas for content
               Do your research:
                   o Find out editorial deadlines
                   o Ask about editorial guidelines for articles
                   o Provide calendar items in the requested format

What other publications reach older adults?

Consider membership groups and associations that have publications or newsletters. These might

               Unions
               National organizations with local chapters such as AARP, National Retired
                Federal Employees
               Advocacy groups such as the Gray Panthers or Older Women’s League
               Service groups such as Rotary or Kiwanis
               Granges (rural communities)
               Veterans of Foreign Wars
               Fraternal organizations such as the Masons, Elks or Moose

Many of these groups have monthly newsletters that list coming events. Some will print short
articles that you have written.

How do I submit information?

The first step to include these newsletters as part of your information campaign begins with
contacting someone on the local governing council of the target organization. Talk with the
president or the person in charge of program planning or special events, who can put you in
touch with the newsletter editor.

Step two entails discussing with editors their content, publication dates and compelling reasons
that your program will benefit their members. Develop a rapport with each editor. Provide each
publication with information in their format and style.

Step three looks to the future. Stay in contact even after the publication has printed your
information. These are new allies that can help with future events and activities.

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                       20
Chapter 3
              Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health—Blueprint
             Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for Older Adults

                                   Working with Mass Media

Getting the Best from Rural Media Sources
Rural and small-town media represent a unique area of American journalism. Their special
characteristics provide growing opportunities for expanding print, radio, and other electronic
media coverage. Rural and small-town media meet the needs of their audiences—and of health
promotion programs—in a way that no other media can.

Realizing the Benefits of Rural and Small-Town Media

               Try to capitalize on the opportunities that rural and small-town media present,
                instead of seeing this viable market as a second choice among communication
               Use rural and small-town media to initiate programs that are models for other
                health promotion advocates in larger market areas. Working with smaller media
                outlets provides an opportunity to play a creative role in developing health
                promotion messages and campaigns. The smaller the market, the more
                opportunity there is to try something new

What are the best strategies to ensure effective results?

               Develop good relationships with media staff
               Give a local slant to your story and communicate early with local media
               Prepare fact sheets
               Create a regional information network
               Emphasize community relations
               Use local celebrities
               Have a spokesperson available at any hour
               Understand the structure and characteristics of rural and small-town media

Develop Good Relationships with Media Staff

Given the presence of the media in small communities, editors and managers are actually some
of the most influential members of a community. They often also serve as executives in
community and civic organizations such as the chamber of commerce, as well as in other social
and fraternal organizations.

Seize all opportunities to meet and interact with local media personnel in social rather than
professional settings. For example:
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                    21
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               Get to know editors and radio managers personally by inviting them to lunch
               Find out what your organization can do to receive airtime or space in the
                newspaper. But do not expect an immediate response. It takes time and patience
                to build good media relationships

Give a Local Slant to Your Story

               Just as in metropolitan areas, the best story in a rural or small-town market is a
                local one

Create a Regional Information Network

Collect, record, and publicize statistics about the incidence of diseases or certain situations in
your area. Such information captures the reader’s attention and provides an excellent lead for
messages on the importance of prevention.

Emphasize Community Relations

A well-attended awareness event can appeal to a television or radio station as a community
relations opportunity and a news story.

               Meet with the marketing or community affairs director of a television station and
                get him or her involved as a co-host of the event
               Develop promotional goods, such as T-shirts and hats with the television or radio
                station’s logo, to use at a collaborative event with the station providing ads for the
               Try to use one of the station’s personalities in the promotion (e.g., a news anchor,
                sports anchor, or weatherperson)

Use Local Celebrities

Enlist a local celebrity to lend support and credibility to your event.

               Newspapers and television and radio stations will go out of their way to cover, for
                example, the university basketball coach, the governor, or a local person who has
                achieved national recognition in his or her field
               Use the right celebrity to present the health message or represent the campaign

        Keep in mind the advantages:

               Celebrities can be effective if the audience directly associates them with your
                message (e.g., an ex-cancer patient, a pregnant woman, an ex-smoker)
               Celebrities speak for themselves and their image, and will make a firm agreement
                about their role and what they will and will not say

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               Celebrities can increase attention to your message from audiences and from
                editors or producers who determine the newsworthiness of issues

       And disadvantages:

               The appearance of a celebrity may compete with your message for attention
               Some audiences may not react favorably to certain celebrities
               A network or radio station may not use a top star from a rival station
               Production schedules will be built around the celebrity's schedule, which could
                result in production delays or a need to reschedule, increasing production time
                and costs
               The celebrity may practice health habits or hold health-related opinions that could
                later contradict your own messages
               Celebrities live in the public eye; a change in their popularity or personal lifestyle
                could affect the acceptability of your message

       A local celebrity or well-known person may be more credible for some audiences than a
       national figure

Understand the Structure and Characteristics of Rural and Small-Town Media Resources

       Print Media

In general, rural print media concentrate their limited resources on local news coverage and rely
on wire services or newspaper syndicates for national and state news.

       Daily Newspapers

                Like their urban counterparts, daily newspapers in rural areas want “hard news”
                 within an established deadline, such as Thursday at noon for Sunday coverage.
                 Get to know those deadlines
             In pitching a story about a state or national observance or event with a local slant,
                 describe the event in 50 words or less and answer these questions:
                             Whom does it affect locally?
                             When will it happen?
                             Why is it timely?
             When presenting hard news to the editor of a rural daily, remember that statistical
                 information about the local market is a strong lead
             To get to know him or her, hand-carry the first few press releases to the city
                 editor, managing editor, or assignment editor
             When working with a daily newspaper that is large and well-staffed, offer
                 camera-ready art (logos or illustrations) for use in articles and make a photo
                 opportunity available so the editor will assign a photographer or reporter
             Remember that a reporter covering an event wants to interview someone in the
                 sponsoring organization to get more information and to collect quotes that will
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                     23
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                give the story more human interest. Have the contact information for these people
                available for the reporter

        Weekly Newspapers

               In terms of getting space for a story, weekly newspapers are usually the hardest to
                access, but they have more freedom in content
               Rural papers often operate with only one writer who also serves as the editor.
                Cater to the editor and help him or her develop a comprehensive story about your
                organization or event
               Weekly papers lose some stories because news becomes old quickly, so they may
                be looking for feature articles and human-interest stories
               Weekly newspapers are filled with a variety of regular columns that may, for
                example, include news on civic groups, volunteer opportunities, a calendar of
                church gatherings, and personal news about local residents. Use the personal
                news approach by telling your story through a local resident
               Including a photo and a graph or a logo will help the story’s chances of “getting
                some ink” in the paper. The photos and artwork do not have to be professionally
                done, but they do have to conform to the guidelines and standards of the news
               Create a presence at county festivals and older adult events—high priorities for
                rural media—by providing print materials and people who can answer questions.
                Such contributions may provide an opening to convince the editor of the worth of
                a weekly column on health promotion
               See if the paper saves money on printing costs by using a holding company that
                prints three or four other small county newspapers. A regular column published
                in one weekly could be published in the others and ultimately cover a much larger
                circulation area

        Biweekly and Tabloid Newspapers

               In contrast to the emphasis on breaking news at daily newspapers, biweekly and
                tabloid newspapers—like weekly newspapers—emphasize feature stories
               Any press release going to a biweekly or tabloid newspaper should include
                quotes, different opinions, testimony, and good photos
               Call ahead—usually four weeks—to find out if the biweekly or tabloid wants an
                information sheet on a health promotion campaign or event

        Other Publications

               Consider contributing to:
                   o Church bulletins
                   o Employee newsletters
                   o Communications among members of fraternal, social or civic

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       Electronic Media

       Radio Stations

               Get to know the station managers, if possible, and always know the receptionists.
                In many cases, it is the receptionist who has primary responsibility for community
                relations for the station, and can be an advocate for including news on health
                promotion efforts or events in the station’s programming
               Arbitron ratings may be available to help identify the station with the most
                relevant audience. However, radio station salespeople can usually be relied upon
                to know their listening audiences. Ask for handouts on listener demographics by
                age grouping and keep them on file for quick reference
               The format generally determines which station is best for a specific age group or
                for a particular health promotion message. Look for a format with a more eclectic
                approach—playing big band music or special language programs—to get the
                message to your target audience

       Television Stations

               Each rural television station, like every radio station, runs PSAs. Stations vary in
                their commitment to PSA development, so make sure the PSA is easy for the
                stations to use. A tape that is ready to go will receive more airtime
               Seek out interview opportunities on public service shows or within newscasts.
                Work directly through the producer and offer your spokesperson as a resource on
                those particular issues
               Try to access the medical segment of local television news programs. Health
                reporters at television stations develop stories from the constant stream of calls,
                letters, and faxes they receive from companies and organizations. A prevention-
                related health report can enlighten people about how to take care of themselves,
                and the news organization receives credit for being interested in public well-being
               Due to deadline pressures, television reporters need to have stories spelled out to
                them quickly—they have limited time for research. Try to allow at least two
                hours before broadcast for a story to be completed.
               They need a story that is visual and action-oriented
               Once contact has been made with a person at each television station, begin
                monthly phone conversations with them so they will not forget your organization

       Public Radio and Television Stations

                In many rural areas, public television and radio stations offer the largest viewing
                 audience. Because of the recent increase in channels available through cable,
                 public channels are perceived as having fewer viewers than commercial channels,
                 but it is not true
             If commercial television is not a viable option, look into public media resources:
                 their audience often not only includes a large number of regular viewers but also
                 covers a wide geographic area
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                        25
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               To gain access to public media resources:
                   o Write news releases for radio delivery by using short sentences that can be
                       read easily. For a timely event, news personnel often follow up to get a
                       taped interview to go with the regular radio news. Give the news bureau
                       time to respond to a news release—at least a week
                   o Ask about newsbreaks on nationally syndicated radio programs such as
                       “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered”
                   o Volunteer for televised fundraising events over public television. Staffing
                       telephones to take information on call-in contributions provides an
                       opportunity for your organization to be visible while you are helping a
                       community media resource
                   o Ask the public television programming director if he or she is seeking new
                       ideas for an original production in the station’s studios. Grants often make
                       a production about a worthy community service possible
                   o Volunteer to serve on the public television advisory council

        Cable Access Channels

Many rural cable companies, which depend on the city or county government’s agreement with
the company, designate up to 5 percent of their income from cable fees to a community access

These channels are not sophisticated in their visual approach to programming, but they offer a
large segment of the population an opportunity for access.

A community access channel views itself as a service to the community and so it is an
opportunity for health promotion activities. Personnel from rural community access channel
often encourage groups and individuals to use the facility and, sometimes, the equipment for the
creation and cablecast of unique programming.

        Cable Television Ads

Cable companies have appreciably lower advertising rates than commercial television stations.
The Cable Spot Advertising Directory is available through most cable company ad departments
if they are members of the Cable Television Advertising Bureau (telephone (212) 751-7770).

The directory contains information on:

               The market—geographic area served
               Areas served—cities, villages and townships
               Homes served—actual number
               Penetration—percentage of the total number of homes in the area served by
               Rates—based on 30-second ad airtime, determined by time of day aired. Ask
                about access to CNN, ESPN, TNT, USA, and TNN
               Sales contact—name and telephone number
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                     26
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A word of caution: Salespeople are available to take orders in any locale in the country, but
because cable advertising is so new, the sales staff is often difficult to reach. To save time and
frustration, if your organization or program has a 30-second spot on Beta Cam available, ask one
of the more accessible cable advertising sales staff to broker the ad to designated cable

Tips for Accessing Rural Media Successfully

               Remember that good ideas are appealing to rural newspapers. Talk to
                the advertising personnel to get financial backing from area businesses for a
                special health promotion effort.
               Rural media outlets tend to be operated by small staffs—sometimes they
                are one-person operations. Timing your visit will be very important—get
                to know their deadlines and hours of operation. It might take some
                work (repeated visits and telephone calls), but the outcomes can be varied
                and interesting.
               Make a personal visit to the managing editor or radio manager for editorial
                support of your project. Rural media sources often support pet causes: try
                to determine what the editor’s special concerns and interests are. Then
                pitch your information to the editor’s special concerns or interests.
               Piggyback a health promotion message on exercise by sponsoring a
                sports team. More and more communities are developing team sports for
                older adults. The reporter will write sponsorship identification into the
                story every time the team plays.
               Pitch a creative special-feature story idea to the city editor that will
                enhance hard news stories. Allow four to six weeks for planning.

The most successful communication efforts in rural markets are often the result of networking
with other organizations, both nonprofit and profit. Know when to piggyback on other efforts in
the community and when to release a story individually.

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                    27
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Special Considerations in Developing Rural Media Relations

               Accessibility. The smaller newspaper has an accessible newsroom. Walk
                through it and talk with reporters, editors, and layout personnel. After a
                few well-timed visits, your organization or program may get called upon to
                provide input for stories.
               Circulation. Most rural newspapers have a circulation of 25,000 or less for
                a Sunday issue. Often the readership is 16,000 to 20,000. Getting a
                prevention message to a large audience requires planting the story in more
                than one media outlet.
               One editor. Most rural print sources have one person who makes decisions
                on placing stories. Find out who that person is and establish a good
                relationship with him/her.

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                  28
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              Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health—Blueprint
             Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for Older Adults

                                   Working with Mass Media

Using the Internet

Table of Contents
                Web Sites

Why use the Internet?

               Using the Internet increases outreach to traditional and non-traditional audiences.
                Growing numbers of older adults and caregivers are Internet-savvy
               For public relations and educational campaigns the Internet offers two major
                communication tools—e-mail and websites

                E-mail sends messages almost instantly to parties connected to the Internet who
                have their own mailboxes or accounts. Unlike faxes, the message transfers
                electronically and may be copied directly into a document, newspaper story,
                newsletter or television script.

                Websites have the advantage of providing extensive, timely information to
                Internet users who wish to access it at any time of day or location, and of allowing
                content to be printed or copied to other documents.

Who is our target audience?

               On the Internet we have two major target audiences: older adults and those who
                care for them—their families and other caregivers

    Older Adults

               Of all computer users, 24 percent are older adults, most between the ages of 60 to
                69, 14 percent are people age 70-79 and 4 percent are 80 and over
               Almost as many older adults have searched the Internet as use computers
               More than half of the older Internet surfers are looking for strategies to maintain
                independent living

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                      29
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    Families and Caregivers

               One-quarter of American women who work outside the home provide caregiving
                to a family member and, as of May 2000, more women are online than men
               The Internet has becomes an important resource for information on medical
                conditions and products and services to assist in better care


Using e-mail for promotion and publicity complements the standard marketing techniques. The
advantages of using e-mail are:

               Ease in reaching the media through the Internet. Many editors and journalists
                have turned to e-mail as a contact point
               Low cost. After paying for online service ($20 to $50, depending on modems and
                cable connections), the more e-mail you send the less expensive it is to use
               Record of communications. By saving the e-mails sent, you have a written trail of
               Less intrusive. E-mail offers a less intrusive means than a phone call to convey
                information. The editor or journalist can read it or delete it at a convenient time
               Improved quality of presentation. Unlike voice mail, the sender has more time to
                construct and present the main points of the promotion
               Timely. E-mail can instantaneously send and receive communications. If you
                respond to deadlines in a timely manner and provide an already typed format that
                can be easily edited, you will save journalists time and effort


The downsides to e-mail distribution of news releases and information are:
          The inability to send group releases

                Many organizations are using new "anti-spam" software (software that prevents
                hackers from overloading an e-mail system with multiple copies of messages or
                advertisers from sending offers indiscriminately), which may limit the number of
                e-mails that can be sent at one time.

                The software either searches subject or sender lines for keywords or blocks e-
                mails that are sent in groups. An error message is usually returned. Some
                formatting tips sometimes “trick” the system. (See the section on formatting
                news releases.)

               The lack of personal connections to reporters and those receiving information

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                     30
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                The personal connections can often encourage publication of the campaign’s
                information or speed a news release insertion.

E-mail news releases only complement the traditional public relations methods and, although the
process is not as time-intensive, it still requires thoughtful preparation and execution. Follow-up
with media contacts through phone calls is still advisable.

Steps in E-mail Promotions and Publicity

    Development of E-mail Media Lists


               Develop contact lists and create a database of e-mail addresses. A simple
                database includes contact information and date of the last contact. Here’s a
                sample record:

                  Name                          Steve O’Keefe
                  Address                       http://www.wiley.com/compbooks/
                  Topic/ publications           Publicist for Dr. Seussville
                  Last update                   5/97

               Categorize each listing to ensure appropriate messages go to appropriate contacts.
                You can do this by turning to your database program. For example, in Access, the
                database creation wizard asks you what “fields” you want to use: name, address,
                organization, media. When you select any one of these fields as you enter the
                basic information, you have created categories. When you ask your database for
                information, you can reference any of the categories or fields

               For developing national contacts, include http://www.nbc.com for media contacts.
                Use http://www.Four11.com/ as a phone book on the Internet to find e-mail
                addresses of people online. This voluntary directory may help you to look up a
                journalist by name
               For local contacts, adapt registration materials for any of your programs or news
                briefings to capture e-mail information
               Create your print media list by:
                    1. First, identify your target publications
                    2. Check the "staff box" in the magazine or paper you wish to contact and
                        look for the @ sign, which indicates an e-mail address
                    3. Check the bylines or end of articles for addresses that include an @ sign
                    4. Develop a list of freelance writers who cover the “age beat,” since more
                        print media are contracting for articles and features
               For broadcast media, scan the credits of television programs to find the show
                producers or listen for the names of special program producers on the radio.
                Public radio often gives an e-mail address to contact the station

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                     31
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For local broadcast media, call the station and ask for the e-mail address of the news director.

    Maintaining the Media List

               You will want to track responses to your e-mails
               Continually groom the list to eliminate bad addresses and refine effective
                contacts. To promote good business relations, remove contacts’ names when they
                ask to be taken off the list
               Be aware that e-mail addresses may change often, so keeping your database
                current is an ongoing process.

    Formatting E-mail News Releases

An e-mail news release consists of two parts: the address section and the message section.

    Address Section

               The address section includes an area for you to enter e-mail addresses and to
                complete a subject line
               The address lines include the primary address, carbon copy (cc) and blind copy
                (bc) fields. The recipient does not see who received the blind copies

                Often you can avoid "spamming software" by putting group addresses in the blind
                copy box instead of the "To" box. This tactic also keeps your contacts

                Placing the addresses in the blind copy field also keeps the e-mail list short
                (sending the names of 350 journalists in the "To" field could result in 19 pages of
                addresses before the message even begins—an immediate candidate for the delete

                Since you are not putting your media list in the "To" box, put in your own address
                or type "News Release."

    Subject Line
            Get the attention of the reader without using cheap tricks to entice the recipient
               into opening the e-mail
            Dramatics or "cute" phrases call into question your credibility as a reliable source
               of news
            Be honest and concise. Limit the subject to 25 characters, since most fields will
               not hold more
            Good examples are:

                    News Release or “News” and a short promotion of unique characteristics of
                    your story
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                       32
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                "Check out my Web site." It has been overdone
                Using all capital letters in the subject line. It's the equivalent of shouting on the
                 Internet, and the mark of a beginner

    Message Section


The message should contain no more than three paragraphs:

                Paragraph one is the hook. Offer a relevant story associated with another current
                 news story or national event
                Paragraph two is the pitch. Make the pitch a brief description of the event, the
                 promotion or the campaign
                The final paragraph provides the contact information. Entice the reader to reply
                 and ask for a media kit or sample, or to register for an event

    Formatting for Professional-looking Copy: Solutions to Common Problems

                Line justification
                 E-mail software allows only a certain number of characters for each line.
                 Different software allows different line lengths. When you write your e-mail, the
                 text looks as if it is goes to the end of the line and "wraps" around to the next line.

                 But, if the reader's software allows fewer characters per line than yours, your
                 reader will receive an e-mail that goes to the end of a line and then includes only a
                 few words on the following line, before beginning a new long line. This "jagged
                 edge" makes text difficult to read and tips off the reader that a beginner is sending
                 this message.

                Quote marks
                 When you use quotes, dashes or possessive single quotes, the reader's e-mail may
                 display them as asterisks, greater/less than signs or the symbol for “equals.”

                The solution to both of these formatting problems is to:
                    o Write the message using word processing software such as Word or Word
                        Perfect, that has a 60-character line length.
                    o Save the file in ASCII format. (Go to “File Type” and choose ASCII
                    o Check the file for problems and run the spell check
                    o Copy and paste the text into the message section of your e-mail.
                    o Save a copy of the message in the original format (Word or other
                        software). If you want to use this original copy for additional releases or
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                             33
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                         reports, it is easier to edit and cut and paste if the text is in the usual
                         software forma.

    Signature Section

               It is best to eliminate the signature in an e-mail news release

               The signature is text that automatically follows the message. Most people use this
                feature to include contact information. However, it may have similar formatting
                problems to the message section and most people will contact you with the reply
                feature of the e-mail


You will want to check your news release:

               To ensure the e-mail addresses remain hidden
               To see how the lines break in the text
               To make sure that the signature feature is turned off
               To correct bad addresses

Send variations of the release to yourself or a friend using other e-mail services, such as America
Online or CompuServe.


               Before you consider creating a website, consider attaching your promotional
                materials to another site. Partnerships avoid the technical work of putting
                together a site

               Your community may have a local site to which you can attach information.
                Contact your city, parish or county public relations office or office of the mayor
                or commissioners

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                           34
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Developing a Website

The complete story on how to develop a website is beyond the scope of this website, but here are
some basic tops for making a site more accessible to older readers.

    Balance the text and open space

               Increase readability by including some empty space around your smaller blocks of
                text. Good web designers use a column format, which can include a wide margin
                on either the left or right side of the page

                Current designers leave a wide margin of one to two inches on the right side of
                the page. The wider margin accommodates various monitor types or window
                sizes. However, this can produce longer text.

               The longer the text on each page, the more the reader will need to "scroll down"
                or move the cursor or mouse down the page to reach the end

                Scrolling can lose the reader's attention. Instead, develop hyperlinks, which allow
                the reader to click on a topic and skip to more detailed information or another

    Divide topics into manageable sections

               Many people prefer to print documents to read at their leisure or give to others. A
                large document often requires printing more information than desired

                Breaking topics into smaller sections maintains the reader’s attention better and is
                more convenient for printing

    Avoid animation and complex graphic images

               Flashing, blinking or moving objects or banners pull the reader away from the text
                and are visually distracting
               Animation and complex graphic images may take a long time to load, which is
                frustrating for the visitor to your site

    Justify paragraphs

               Justify the text to the left-hand side to improve ease in reading
               Full justification (to both the left and right margins) can produce irregular spacing
                between words and letters, causing visual confusion
               Centered text is the least readable and should only be used for titles

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    Use color judiciously

               Bright, fluorescent or vibrant colors are distracting and tiring to the eye
               Difficult-to-read text colors include yellow and combinations of blue and yellow
                or red and green
               Colorblind people may have difficulty with red and green combinations

    Create contrast

               Due to the yellowing of the cornea and eye fluids that occurs with age, seeing
                light colors becomes more difficult
               High contrast between foreground and background colors helps to make the text
                more visible
               Select dark type on light or white backgrounds
               Strong or highly textured background patterns make reading the text difficult
               Maintaining contrast between text and a neutral background makes text more
                readable to everyone, especially older people
               It is best to use no pattern at all for background

    Use fonts that are legible on computer screens

               Avoid dramatic fonts such as Old English
               Choose serif fonts like Times New Roman, Courier or Century School Book
                       Times New Roman
                       Bookman Old Style
               Drop shadows on text also make text difficult to see.
                They are used to give words the appearance of depth

    Use fonts judiciously

               Use the same fonts throughout the site to create continuity

               Bold type adds impact, but any design element loses emphasis if used all the time.
                Use bold only to emphasize a title or a keyword

    Choose an appropriate font size

               Twelve- and fourteen-point type are the best font sizes for body copy. Make
                headlines and titles two or four points larger
               Make sure your font sizes are consistent

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                   36
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    Provide adequate white space

               Include enough space between paragraphs and sections to allow the eye to rest
               Pages busy with copy look so daunting that the reader is inclined to skip over
               Use extra space to highlight important text or change of topics

    Avoid words in all capital letters

               The eye has difficulty distinguishing rapidly between capital letters
               Use a capital letter only at the beginning of each word to set off a title or section
                or when grammatically correct

    Maintain format consistency and special features

               Underline all links (jumps to another part of your site or another site). This is a
                convention used throughout the Web

                Reserve underlines as cues to the reader that an underlined phrase is a link. Don’t
                use underlining for any other purpose

Website Best Practices

Family Caregiver Alliance

Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) is a non-profit organization. By creating a website,
FCA expanded its outreach beyond northern California communities. The site
demonstrates a number of principles for good Web presentation—use of white space,
visual organization, and ease of reading and navigating.

Site Presentation
Use of White Space

               FCA has divided the pages on the site into a two-inch index column on the
                left, and a four-inch column containing facts and information

                This division dedicates almost one-third of the page to white space. The
                text is better highlighted and easier to read.

               Colors are used for lines, titles and links. The colors act to highlight the
                text information presented in black, and reproduce well when downloaded
                and printed

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                          37
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Visual Organization

               Using bullets and bold type and italics enhances the impact of each point
                the document addresses
               With the headings clearly marked at the top of the page, the topic of each
                page is clearly designated. Lines connect the index topics creating a path
                for the eye to follow. Links to other parts of the site are highlighted in the
                left column with a line dividing the links from the text

Ease of Reading

               Sentences are kept to two lines of the text block
               Within the fact sheets, terms are defined before the reader moves further
                into the descriptions of facts, symptoms and diagnosis and treatment.
                Technical terms, when used, are followed by a brief explanation in

               The writing level is appropriate for a seventh grade reading level
               Typeface lends itself to easy reading as a “serif” font (or “book” font).
                Some of the titles are capitalized, but most of the text uses the easier-to-
                read upper and lower case format found in book print

Ease of Navigating

               Readers can navigate to any part of the site by clicking on a topic at the
                top left of a page or at the bottom of the page

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                     38
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As part of a new appeal to the next generation of older adults, AARP recently created a
website to provide not only health information, but also prevention tips and consumer
advice. AARP demonstrates what larger aging organizations can do with Web presence.
The site demonstrates a number of principles for good Web presentation—use of white
space, visual organization, appropriate use of graphics, ease of navigating.

Site Presentation
Use of White Space

               As with FCA, AARP has divided its pages into a two-inch index column
                on the left, and a five-inch column containing facts and information. This
                division dedicates almost a quarter of the page to white space. The text is
                better highlighted and easier to read

Visual Organization

               Each topic is highlighted in a light-colored title box. Under the title box
                fall the topics contained in that section. Visually, the page appears to be
                organized in discrete boxes addressing discrete topics
               AARP has capitalized on past articles that have appeared in its magazines
                and on the website. The AARP web designer has bulleted the articles
                related to a topic such as staying fit. Clicking on a descriptive article title
                sends the reader to another well-organized page with title boxes, bold
                heading for short descriptions or action steps and bulleted links. The
                consistency of the design throughout the site guides the reader to expect a
                similar format for each page
               With the headings clearly marked at the top of the page, the topic of each
                page is clearly designated. Lines connect the index topics creating a path
                for the eye to follow. Links to other parts of the site are highlighted in the
                left column with a line dividing the links from the text

Appropriate Use of Graphics

               The AARP designers have not overdone the placement of graphics

                Each page has a contemporary picture at the top right. At the left, the
                designers have incorporated a topic logo in the two-inch directional
                column. In some of the reproduced articles, cartoons or drawings appear.
                The drawings avoid stereotyped images.

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                      39
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Ease of Reading

               Sentences are kept to two lines of the text block. The text reads like a
                magazine. Technical terms are defined but rarely used
               The sans-serif font (typeface without the short lines extending from the
                upper or lower strokes of a letter) is used extensively in the text. Visually
                attractive, the font can become difficult to read over time
               Colors are used for title boxes, titles and links

                The color highlights the titles. Black lines divide each page. The white
                background makes the black text easy to read. The colors on the screen
                reproduce well when downloaded and printed.

Ease of Navigating

               Readers can return to the home page by clicking on “wellness” in the left
                directional column

                Other topics can also be accessed.

               The search feature at the top of each page is also an advantage when
                navigating to other parts of the site. A link to the top of the page is
                strategically placed throughout articles or indexes. Related topics can also
                be found in the left directions column

Other Considerations

    Consider hand-eye coordination

               For users who have not grown up using a mouse or those with diminished motor
                capabilities, double-clicking or scrolling can be awkward and frustrating
               Make all links that require clicking the mouse large and static
               Increase the borders surrounding a link so that the button is better targeted and
                easer to hit

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                    40
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    Archive past publications

               If you have newsletters or articles that may be of interest to people researching a
                topic covered in your health promotion campaign, develop an area on your site for
                these past articles
               Archives are especially important if links from your site to other websites were
                made. It is frustrating for readers who think they have found the perfect article on
                their subject to receive an error message that the page cannot be found
               Redirect the old links to the archive directory page so readers can look for the
                archived article in your table of contents. This page should be organized in a logical
                format by year or topic

    Provide search capability

               Search features give the reader the ability to search the site using a keyword, topic
                or title

    Avoid using tables

               If readers are downloading tables, some printers will not include the table format
               As an alternative, provide a text-only version of the page

Web Page Resources

              Laura's Web Zone
               Author of "Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML"
             Web Reference.Com
               Book reviews, legal considerations, software and graphics
             Michael Shea's Internet Page
               Conceptual approach to Web design—planning designing, maintaining and testing
              “Contentious”
               Online writers and editors magazine and meeting ground
              WebWord.com
                Articles and original material on variety of content issues

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                        41
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                Webgrammar
                 List of resources for Web writers
                Content-Exchange
                 Resource for online editors and writers, including a database job bank
                Jakob Neilsen’s AlertBox columns
                 Biweekly column on Web usability
                The Usability Methods Toolbox
                 James Horn’s collection of usability tools
                Info.Design
                 Website of two Washington, DC-area information architects
                Web Review Archive
                  Archive of “Web Architect” articles written for Web Review
                  (online magazine self-styled “Cross Training for Web Teams”)
                Web Review Content Section
                 Website’s section on content
                Bobby.com
                 Web-based tool that analyzes Web pages for their accessibility to people with
                Web Monkey IA tutorial
                 “The Web Developer’s Resource”
                Columbia Guide
                 Guide to online writing and text style
                Dave’s Site
                 Html tutorial
                Builder.com
                 Web Builders’ section on accessibility

Promoting Your Website

There are many ways to promote your website once you have developed and tested it, and have
finally gone online.

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                     42
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    Search Engines

               Search engines are software programs that help Internet users look for

                Considered the "card catalog" of the Internet, the search engines ask you for
                keywords that describe the topic you want to know more about

                They then search their databases for matches. Many search engines post websites
                at no cost

    Registration on Other Sites and Search Engines

               Also referred to as web crawlers, spiders are search engines that use automated
                programs to scan sections of the Internet. They follow hyperlinks and search web
                pages for specific terms that can guide users looking for sites on specific topics.
                Examples are Alta Vista and Lycos

               You do not need to register your site with these search engines because the
                spiders search automatically


               Directories are based on descriptive words, also known as key words, submitted
                by the Web page designer to characterize the information found on a site
               Unlike the spiders, directories are controlled by humans who wait for Web
                designers or sponsors to register their sites
               The information requested includes:

                         URL (or Internet address)
                         Title of the site
                         Categories and headings
                         25-word description of the site

    Registration Sources

               The number one resource for gaining visibility is http://www.siteowner.com.
                Registering your site will take you less than two minutes and will almost instantly
                increase the number of visitors
               In the “Submit it! Free” box, type the URL of your site and click the “Submit it!”
                button. Your site will automatically be listed in six of the most popular search
                engines—Excite, HotBot, Lycos, AltaVista, InfoSeek and WebCrawler
Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                     43
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               The following are other important search engine sites:
                        Google                www.google.com
                        Northern Light        www.northernlight.com
                        Yahoo!                www.yahoo.com

               You can also scan the listings on the Yahoo! Web Directory
                      1. Go to www.yahoo.com and enter the words “search engines” or “web
                           directories” in the search field.
                      2. From this listing, you should be able to identify specialized search
                           engines and web directories in your subject area.

    Linkage Campaign: Seeding the Internet with Links

To increase traffic on your site, you can also determine what other sites might be attractive to
your target audience and have a link placed on that site to yours. These are called hyperlinks.

               Hyperlinks allow readers to click on a button or address listed on a page and jump
                to another site. More formally, hyperlinks direct the browser to open another file
                containing your site

               To approach the webmaster or designer of another site about a linkage, prepare a
                link letter

                Send the letter by e-mail to sites of like interest to your target audience.
                In the letter, provide your website address and a description of the site.

               If the link is accepted and implemented, you will want to know how the link affects
                traffic on your site

                You can code the links to determine the most useful sites. This operation is fairly
                technical and will require the help of a webmaster.

Incentives To Use the Site

        Make sure your site is technically “fit”

               Technical difficulties in reaching your site frustrate the reader and can result in
                lost credibility

                To ensure your site is technically "fit," check to see if all pages, buttons and links

                Plan regular tests of each page’s operation and the links within the site and to other

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                             44
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                Keep your information current. It is easy to continue to develop new pages and
                 forget that the pages you developed six months ago need updating


Since you want viewers to return to your site, develop incentives to return.

        These can include:

                A daily news feature presenting three or more one-paragraph news items
                A calendar of activities
                Online newsletters
                Posting new health promotion presentations recently offered in the community or
                 at conferences
                Resource pages with links to other sites of interest to your target audience

        A library of resources can include frequently asked questions about a health promotion topic
        or provide supportive materials to the home page message.

Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health                                                      45
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