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Avaaz Event-Organising Media Guide

It's critical that you contact the media about your event so that you can increase the chances that your Global Wake Up Call event gets covered. This media guide will take you through simple steps to get ready for your event and then the process of the event itself. Thanks for agreeing to host a Global Wake Up Call event. It is going to be an extraordinary and unforgettable day!

•Before the event:
  1. Build your list
  2. Send out your advisory
  3. Call the reporters
  4. Do social networking
•At the event:
  1. Look for reporters

  2. Welcome the press
  3. Stick to the talking points
  4. Send us your pictures and media coverage

Before the Event

Build your media list:

First, you need to create a list of the names, phone numbers and fax/email of media outlets and reporters in your area. The following website is a great place to start but contact information for the press changes very often and editorial contact details may not be listed. You may need to use the phone book or telephone a directory enquiry service, then call the media outlet to check who you should send information to.

BBC country profiles have a media section which names the main media outlets in each country (scroll to the end for the media section). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/country_profiles/default.stm

Keep track of the information you collect. You can use it again for future events.

Here's a chart to help you figure out whom to target. It's listed in order of priority, so start at the top.

NOTE: For large cities, international news agencies such as Associated Press (AP), Reuters, Agence France Presse (AFP) or Xinhau and national news agencies will often have a separate photo desk or even a TV news gathering service. It is worth alerting them if the event is particularly visual-friendly.

Outlet Info you need Why You Want to Include Them
Local bureau of international news agencies such as AP, Reuters, AFP, Xinhau. Check who your national news agency is and contact them too. General phone number & e-mail for the local office. You should also ask who covers politics and environment and talk to them specifically. Also the photo and TV desks where relevant. They syndicate news, meaning other outlets often pick up their stories. They also keep a "daybook" or list of events in the area that other media outlets use to decide what to cover. You definitely want them to post your event in their daybook!
Local progressive talk shows on the radio or community television Phone number & e-mail for the producer of the show (or the station contact number, if producer's information isn't available). Progressive local talk-shows are always looking for great local angles – and that means you! At a minimum, you can arrange to call in to the show at an appointed time BEFORE your event, which is great publicity.
Your local TV station that covers local news daily. Phone, e-mail, & fax of the newsroom or assignment editor. Because they are local, they are going to be interested in what is going on in the area. Many people get their news from TV.
Your local newspaper(s) >The general phone number & e-mail for the newsroom & the news editor at the metro/city desk, because he/she will decide whether to cover your event. You should also be sure to contact the reporter who covers local politics. Because they are local, they are going to be interested in what is going on in the area.
Local bloggers An email address for a writer or editor of any local social, environmental or political blogs. You have a great chance of getting covered on a local blog – it's a great way to spread the word to other activists.
Your local radio station if it does its own local news– likely an all-news station & probably a public radio station Phone, e-mail, & fax number of the newsroom or news director. Same as above. If they can’t make it to your event, offer them an interview about your event by phone.

2. Send out your media advisory:

A media advisory is a brief statement that tells reporters everything they need to know about your event - who, what, when, where and why. A draft media advisory for the Global Wake Up Call will be available soon. You’ll need to go through and customize it to describe your event. Watch for any sections in caps or brackets – like [LOCATION] – and replace them with local information.

Click here to download a template-advisory

Once you've customized your advisory, you need to fax or email it to the reporters on your list. You should send out your advisories at least two days before your event. These days most reporters use email, so try to use email as much as possible.

Send a copy to us too so we can let international reporters know what is happening around the world, email: photos@avaaz.org

NOTE: You should make a special effort to identify and reach out to local progressive media outlets. Progressive radio talk shows might be interested in having you come on the show in advance to spread the word. That's a fantastic opportunity to get the word out about your event. When you make follow-up calls to these outlets after sending your advisory, make sure to ask which show might be most interested in this story – you'll want to talk to the producer of that show.

3. Call the reporters

Calling reporters is the most important part of contacting the media. This is your chance to tell them how great your event is and why they should cover it. Before you start the calls:
  • Spend a few minutes thinking about what you’ll say to the reporter.
  • Review the talking points and press advisory. You can tailor to help you feel more comfortable when you call.
  • Practice what you're going to say with a friend or say it out loud a few times (don't worry – even the professionals do this).
Here are some other important tips for when you're calling:
  • Remember, you’re trying to take the most interesting and timely aspects of the story and condense them into 30 seconds or less.
  • If you're calling a progressive media outlet that has a radio show, don't be shy about asking if you can come on the show to talk about your event.
  • Try to talk to reporters directly. Leaving a message on their voicemail or with a receptionist isn't nearly as effective.
  • If you don't have success getting through to a political reporter, think of whether there's another kind of reporter that might be interested in the story -- like an environment editor or someone who covers "human interest" stories.
You should call reporters (and email bloggers!) twice. First, call them immediately after you send your advisory -- this should be at least a day or two before your event. Second, call them again on the morning of your event.

The most important call is the one to your local news agency office. Ask them to put your event on their “daybook”—the list of events in the area that other media outlets use when deciding what to cover.

Here are the ideal times for calling the media:
  • Call TV stations before 9 am, which is when they have their morning assignment meeting.
  • Call radio anytime.
  • Call papers between 9 am and 10 am, when editors & reporters choose stories for the day.
Note: If you can't call during these times, just call when you can. But be sure to ask if the reporter is "on deadline" before you start, in case they're rushing to finish something. They may ask you to call back in a bit.

4. Do Social Networking

Put your event on your organisation’s Facebook and Twitter pages and encourage your supporters to do the same. Blog your event before, during and after it happens. Amplifying your event through social networks will help create a buzz, inspire more people to take part - in person or virtually by signing the tcktcktck petition - and let the world know what you are doing and why.

Here are some examples:

Facebook: On the 21st September, we will be joining with thousands of groups around the world in the Global Wake Up Call. We will be making such a noise that we will wake up the politicians to climate change. We are organising an event and will be informing you all of the time and place very soon. Get involved and let’s wake up the world to climate change on the 21st September at avaaz.org

Twitter: "On 21 Sept, let’s wakeup the world leaders to climate change! Set your phone alarms to go off at [have your organisation agree on a set alarm time and put it here] & go to an event. Go to [www. your website]." (Make sure your tweet is less than 140 characters.)

At the Event

5. Look for reporters

Have two people, armed with press releases or media kits, walk around the crowd and approach reporters.

You can usually find reporters at the very front of the crowd, or else at the edges. Television and photo journalists are easier to identify because they carry expensive camera equipment; print journalists, and some bloggers, will be taking notes in long, skinny notebooks, but you often need to look carefully.

If you spot someone who looks like press, walk up and ask them if they’re with the media. If they say yes, introduce yourself as you would on the phone, offer them a press release or media kit, and ask if they have any questions or want to speak with a spokesperson for the group.

Make sure you write down their name and outlet and ask them for a business card if they have one; let them know you’ll be in touch with any developments and can let them know about future events.

After the event, make sure to add them to your group’s media list.

6. Welcome the press

The more you can explain the event to the press, the more likely it is you will get a good story. Visual media will need to get good pictures of the event so try to indicate in advance exactly where the action will be taking place and what is expected to happen (for example, one minute of noisemaking with people banging pots and pans, blowing whistles etc) so they can find good positions. You should assign 1 or 2 people (or the media team if you have one) to keep an eye out for any reporters. If they see a reporter they should welcome them to the event and give them a copy of the press advisory. (Make sure you bring the edited version of the advisory rather than our template – check to make sure "[LOCATION]" has been replaced with your own city's name, etc.)

7. Stick to the talking points

The best way to make sure the media covers the real story of the event is to practice the talking points ahead of time and try to stick to them at the event. Talking points for the Global Wake Up Call are available in the host kit here .

It's best if you have a media team of one or two people who are in charge of talking to any reporters who might come to the event.

After the Event

8. Send us your pictures and media coverage

Be sure to send any photographs, film footage and links to media coverage or scans of clippings immediately so we can tell world leaders meeting at the United Nations HQ in New York what has been happening around the world, email materials to: photos@avaaz.org