Information about local media
Local media often reflect the heartbeat of local communities, so don't underestimate how useful they can be in getting your message heard.
Broadcasters are often keen to get good local religious stories, particularly for their Sunday programming. The BBC's radio stations have prioritised religious programming in their recent restructuring and are keen to hear from faith groups. Presenters and producers are often planning programmes weeks in advance, so it is best to contact them early.
Local commercial radio stations vary in what subjects they cover. But every local media outlet loves a good community story, with real people dealing with real-life situations. If you're asked to take part in an on-air discussion, consider whether this is the right course of action for you or your church, as Christians are often asked to comment on the most controversial topics. If you do decide to take part, make sure you are well prepared to get your message across in a gracious and effective way. Also, be aware that the station may have a dedicated religious slot or 'thought for the day' which is another great way for Christians to get their voice heard on the airwaves.
If you want to find out about what's going on in a town or city, read its local newspaper. And before you contact a newspaper about a story, make sure you have familiarised yourself with the types of stories it is interested in and how it covers them. For example, does the paper usually just print a photograph and caption or does it write up stories in more depth? Visit the paper's website or see the editorial contact information in the paper itself to find out how to get in touch with them. The news editor or a senior journalist is usually the best person to get in touch with. If the paper does not cover your event in advance, take some good, clear, high-resolution photos (at least 300kb) on the day and then email a selection of the best ones – including a description of the image - to the paper. A good photo can often mean the difference between getting your story in the paper ahead of other competing local news – or not.
Competition for coverage on regional television is much stronger than in any other local media as TV stations often cover a wider area and feature fewer stories. Make sure your story is visual, quirky or dramatic to give it the best chance of being included. And remember that human interest stories or large events make for good television.
If you are not sure if a story is suitable for local media, don't be afraid to ring up your local paper, radio station or television studio, and ask.