Publicize Through Local Media

Traditional and local media outlets-newspapers, radio, and TV are still an effective way to circulate news about your chapter.

Getting Started

Identify media outlets to approach.

Numerous social action websites, like www.SparkAction.org allow you to search for local media outlets by zip code. You can get contact information under the site’s Action Center.

Write a press release.

For major events like inductions and service projects, send a press release using our recommended approach:

  • Send the release in the body of the email (not as an attachment)
  • Provide your contact information (name, phone number/cell phone number, email)
  • Include a full description of the event-the who, what, when, where, why
  • Consider including quotes from the principal, adviser, and a student officer
  • Include any links or handles to your chapter’s social media accounts so the local media can use them when promoting your news story or event

Provide photos, especially when contacting newspapers.

Make sure the photos are at least 300 dpi (that’s the minimum resolution newspapers can use for print) and include the names of all individuals in the picture, being careful to exclude any students who “opt-out” of being photographed for school events. Also include a photo credit. These details make the editor’s job easier and increase your chances of the story getting picked up.

Upload the press release to your Honor Society website.

Even if the media outlet can’t do a full story on your news item, they might publicize it on their own social media platforms and link to your web page for more information.

Tips for Formatting your Press Release

  • Keep it single-spaced.
  • Use a web-friendly font, like Calibri or Arial.
  • The less formatting used in the body of the press release, the better. Formatting is often spoiled by many email clients.

Approaching the Media

If you don’t have an established relationship with a particular editor or reporter, you should send a release via email.

Then, follow up once by phone. If you don’t hear back after two phone calls, you should assume the outlet is not interested.

As another means of reaching out, you could include local media Twitter handles or a reporter’s handle in tweets sent about the news item or event.

Avoiding Spam Folders

This can be complicated. Media outlets often have fairly sophisticated email filters. But here are some things to consider:

  • Avoid attachments. Place your press release text in the body of the email. Use a link to a photo sharing site like Flickr or Smugmug to send pictures.
  • Don’t use multiple addresses in the “TO” line. Send your release to individual reporters or editors.
  • Make the subject line exciting. This is the first thing the editor or reporter will read. However, you should avoid words like “free,” exclamation points, or the use of all capital letters. All of these may trigger a spam filter that could send your email to an editor’s junk folder.