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Get media attention

Learn how to get covered by news media
4 min read
Last update: Apr 15, 2023

In this article, you will learn how to reach the news media with your actions. We will discuss how to organise actions that news media will want to pick up. And we will talk about how to write a good press release.


  • Identify your goals and target audience. What are you trying to achieve and who do you want to reach?

  • Research the media outlets and journalists that cover your issue. Find out their contact information, preferences, deadlines, and angles.

  • Craft a compelling message and story. Use facts, data, personal stories, and visuals to make your case and appeal to emotions and values.

  • Pitch your story to the media. Write a concise and catchy email or press release that summarizes your message and why it matters. Follow up with phone calls or social media messages if needed.

  • Prepare for interviews and interactions. Anticipate questions, rehearse your talking points, dress appropriately, and be respectful and confident.

  • Amplify your media coverage. Share the links or clips of your media appearances on your website, social media, newsletters, etc. Thank the journalists and outlets that covered you and maintain good relationships with them.

Write a press release

The news media is always looking for a good story, and if you are planning an activist action, you can make sure they find out about it by writing a press release.

A press release is a short, news-style article that tells the media what you are doing and why it is important. Here are some tips for writing a press release that will get the media's attention:

  1. Make it newsworthy: Write about something that is timely and relevant, and that will interest the media and their audiences.

  2. Keep it short and to the point: A press release should be no more than one page, and it should get straight to the point.

  3. Include quotes: Quotes from people involved in the action, or from experts on the issue, can make your press release more newsworthy and persuasive.

  4. Include a photo: A photo can make your press release more visually appealing and help it stand out from the crowd.

  5. 5Send it to the right people: Make sure you send your press release to the right media outlets, and to the specific reporters who cover the issue you are concerned with.

Local context

Activists trying to get attention from mainstream news media face different challenges depending on the local contexts of the countries they operate in. Here are some of the common challenges and possible solutions:

  • In countries with authoritarian regimes or weak democracies, activists may face legal restrictions, censorship, intimidation, harassment, or violence from the state or its allies. To overcome these challenges, activists may use alternative media platforms, such as social media, podcasts, blogs, or online magazines, to reach a wider audience and bypass state control. They may also seek international solidarity and support from other civil society groups, human rights organizations, or foreign media outlets that can amplify their voices and pressure their governments to respect their rights.

  • In countries with high levels of social polarization or political conflict, activists may struggle to gain trust and legitimacy from the public or the media, especially if they are perceived as partisan, biased, or radical. To overcome these challenges, activists may adopt a more inclusive and dialogical approach, engaging with diverse stakeholders and perspectives, and building coalitions and alliances with other social movements, NGOs, or local communities. They may also use evidence-based arguments and data to support their claims and demonstrate their impact.

  • In countries with low public awareness or interest in your cause, activists may find it hard to attract media attention or mobilize public opinion. To overcome these challenges, activists may use creative and innovative methods to communicate their messages and raise awareness, such as art, music, humor, storytelling, or campaigns. They may also appeal to the values and emotions of their audiences, highlighting the urgency and relevance of their causes and how they affect their lives.

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Improve this page

You can make this guide better:

  • There are Creative Commons resources that we can integrate with this article. Use the Creative Commons resources in the External resources section below to improve this page.

  • Organise this guide into sub-articles: develop a media plan, writing a press release, press conference, interviews, unwelcome media attention

  • Answer questions that activists may have about getting attention from mainstream media:

    • How to craft a clear and compelling message that resonates with the media and the public?

    • How to identify and contact the most relevant journalists, editors, and producers for your cause?

    • How to prepare for interviews and media appearances, and how to handle challenging questions or criticisms?

    • How to use social media, online platforms, and alternative media outlets to amplify your voice and reach a wider audience?

    • How to measure the impact and effectiveness of your media strategy, and how to adapt and improve it over time?

  • Provide solutions to challenges that activists face when trying to get attention from mainstream media:

    • Activists have limited resources to afford high-profile ads or public relations campaigns that can reach a large audience.

    • Activists have to compete with vast numbers of other messages on social media platforms, which are often controlled by corporations that can monitor and influence their visibility.

    • Activists have to deal with the biases and agendas of mass media outlets, which may ignore, misrepresent or discredit their causes and actions.

    • Activists have to balance the need for visibility with the risk of surveillance and repression from governments and corporations that may target them for their dissent.

    • Activists have to find creative and effective ways to communicate their messages and narratives that can resonate with the public and inspire action.

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