Media Outreach Series: Writing and Distributing a Media Advisory

Categories: Blog

Author: Tim Kauffman

A media advisory is the best way to let reporters know about an upcoming event you want them to cover – whether it’s a rally, protest, or press conference.

The advisory should summarize the purpose of the event and tell reporters everything they need to know in advance.

Start off by inserting the date at the top of the page. This is the date that your advisory will go out, not the date of the event you are promoting. If possible, try to send out the advisory two or three days before the event.

Next, add a headline that summarizes the point of the event. You want a headline that’s active, clear and catchy. If you’re a local planning a rally to protest budget cuts at your agency, for example, a good headline could be: VA union activists to protest budget cuts outside hospital

You can expand on the headline with what’s called the subhead, which is basically a second headline that runs below the main headline. In this example, a good subhead could be: Veterans face longer waits, fewer services if cuts are approved

Now that you’ve got your headline and subhead, add details about the event in the following order:

  • What: Briefly explain what the event is and why it’s being held.
  • Who: List any speakers or groups expected to attend.
  • When: Provide the time and date of the event.
  • Where/How: If you are inviting press to an event, provide the specific location by including the “Where.” If your event is online or a conference call, include the registration or call-in details using the “How” tag.
  • Contact: Include contact information for someone that reporters can reach if they have questions about the event either beforehand or on the day of the event.

Click here to download a sample media advisory that you can edit for your event.

Once you’re ready to send out your advisory, simply copy and paste it into an email and send the email to reporters and assignment desk editors at targeted media outlets. It’s best not to attach the document, since some recipients may not be able to receive or open attachments.

Contact information for specific newspapers and TV and radio stations usually can be found on each outlet’s website. For additional help identifying reporters in your area, contact the Communications Department by sending an email to [email protected]. We’ll be happy to help you identify reporters and can even distribute the advisory on your behalf.

REMINDER: Always be very clear to identify yourself in your union role, be it an officer or member. Do not ever claim to be speaking as a federal employee or agency employee, or ever speak using your job title unless authorized to do so by your agency. As long as you identify yourself as speaking only as a union activist/officer, the agency cannot prevent your ability to speak to the press over issues of labor relations. 


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