Harnessing Love’s Power
to Stop Oppression

Media 101

Connect

  • Identify one or two spokespeople in your congregation or organization to speak with the media. Make sure you discuss fully who is empowered to speak on behalf of the group–the minister? The organization’s president? Any trained participant?
  • Issue media advisories in advance of major events and press releases the day of the event and for ongoing efforts (see examples below).
  • Have press releases available at the event for media to take with them.
  • Submit letters to the editor and op-eds in the immediate aftermath of a local incident of exclusion, oppression, or violence (see examples below).
  • Be prepared to speak to the media: practice articulating your key messages in no more than three concise talking points.

Write Engaging Letters to the Editor

Guidelines and Tips (PDF)
Sample Letter (PDF)

  • A letter-to-the-editor (LTE) is a brief response to a recently published article in a print periodical. Typically less than 150 words, LTEs usually must be received by the outlet within seven days of publication of the article.
  • Don’t be condescending or combative—address the article writers and other actors fairly.
  • Submit your LtE to more than one outlet, but modify your language slightly and the article to which you’re responding in order to keep each draft unique.

Write an Op-Ed

Guidelines and Tips (PDF)
Sample Op-Ed (PDF)

  • An op-ed (opinion editorial) is an opinion article written for a newspaper by a third-party contributor.
  • Track the news and independently identify strategic opportunities for which your input would be helpful.
  • Be sure to review submission guidelines again once you have developed a final draft.

Foster Relationships with the Media

  • Reach out to reporters you already know.
  • Build a contact list of reporters and editors who cover religion and/or social justice efforts in your community.
  • Personally email or call reporters to “pitch” coverage of your event.
  • Follow up with reporters and inform them of future events.

Issue Media Advisories Before Events

Guidelines and Tips (PDF)
Sample Advisory (PDF)
Sample Advisory from First UU Church of Austin (PDF)

  • A media advisory is a document designed to notify media outlets of a specific event that will be taking place.
  • Distribute an advisory five, two, and one business day before the event, and again on the day of the event.
  • Monitor coverage the day of and up to a week after your event to ensure accuracy.

Write Effective Press Releases

Guidelines and Tips (PDF)
Sample Release (PDF)

  • A press release is a document designed to notify media outlets of a newsworthy event in conjunction with its happening.
  • A release must make a case for the subject’s topicality and importance.
  • Keep your release short, pithy, concise, and a page or less.

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