Injured Workers Support Network Training
Ensuring what you say is what they write.
Having the media highlight your story and concerns are a great way of getting your message out.
Only, its not as easy as all that.
Firstly you have to make contact with them. Depending on what form of media you are trying to access this can be easy or hard.
Traditional media is radio, television and print. All of which run along commercial grounds. That is, they will run a story if they know people (and quite a lot of people) will pay attention to it.
Because of this, and not surprisingly, getting a story into the traditional media is harder than other forms of media.
New media is generally on-line. Some examples of modern media are the click-bait sites, soft story sites, you tube channels, podcasts, reader produced news sites among others. In general they are easier to have a story produced but their reach can be small (it can also be the biggest story of the year). They rely on people referring to their sites on social media.
Social media is self-driven media, there are rarely any gate keepers (those who decide what goes on and what doesn’t) but if you think new media can have a small audience, social media is nearly guaranteed to have a minuscule one.
Choosing the form of media is the first step in getting your story into the media.
No matter what form of media you choose, there are always
If you write or say something to a journalist, you have to remember that they are recording it. The fact you have agreed to the interview means that they can use it (whether you want them to or not). This is important if you want parts of your story to remain confidential, better not to say those parts than to share and ask that they not be used.
It also means that you don't control the questions they ask you. You can only refuse to answer them, and if you want your story told, saying no to one part of the story might prejudice your attempt.
This is public, that's your aim, that's what it is. If you lie there will be someone out there who will know the truth. Being caught out in a lie is even more of a story than the lie you told so just don't do it.
It will also mean you don't get a second chance. You will have ruined your relationship with the journalist forever.
There are some people who can think on the run, these people have prepared well before they have to start thinking on the run and those in the public eye who do this well don't try to do it at all.
If you haven't already, take some time to complete the tell your story training elsewhere on this website. It will make your story easier to understand and remember when you need it.
There is an overwhelming urge when a microphone is on you to act like an expert. Though you are definitely an expert on your life, in other areas you are probably just an average person. There is little harm to say you don't know the answer to something if you are asked, there is a heap of harm if you answer and get it wrong though.
This encompass the other four golden rules. A journalists job is to find out as many facts as they can and use them to produce a story that is interesting. In the back of your brain this means that you need to remember if they are present, they will still be recording. There is a concept of "off record" and "backgrounding" unless you are in a position where the journalist may want to continue to use you for information, this wont be applied to you. For everyone else, its one or two shots to get the story across, and until that story is bedded down, it's open for changes which may come from you if you don't remember that the interview continues until you physically leave the journalist.
This isn’t so much a rule as a warning. The journalist is after a story, testing out every angle and fact to get it right and make it interesting. This takes time, your time in particular. In the end, whether written, spoken or videoed the journalist has time constraints on the story. So they get more information than they will use. be ready for a slight feeling of disappointment that you spent ages with a journalist and then the final story has only a few snippets of your words in them. The other way of thinking about it is that everything you say informs the story, they may not use your words, they may use other peoples, but your input may have spurred them to take that angle.
The simple answer is that the more control you have over publication, the easier it is to get your story out. So you could buy a traditional news service or you could try for something smaller, but the smaller the service the lower the circulation.
When looking for an avenue to get your story out there is nearly always a gate keeper who decided what is published and what isn't. this may be one person (such as our own website) or a group of people (such as the Sydney Morning Herald or a TV channel) and each will have their own criteria for publication, the bigger the organisation, the harder it is to get a story published. The only way to ensure you have your story published is to do it yourself, otherwise you will have to make your story interesting, then its a case of luck more than anything else.
There are some traditional news sources that could be easier than others. Community Radio is always looking for stories and interviews to put up, these may only get an audience counted in the hundreds but it will put up a story or two if you ask.
Local newspapers are also a great way to have a story printed. As long as there is a local angle to it (with a photograph) it is likely the editorial team will look at printing it.
Other sources of potential publication can be the online only newspapers and opinion website. The New Daily, the Conversation and others ask for reader initiated stories to run on their websites. These still go through a process before they are published but it might be easier than say the daily telegraph or Sydney Morning Herald.
Another thing to remember is that all news outlets have an agenda that the stories have to follow, it can be hard to understand what that agenda is (it can also be very easy) but the main agenda is driving readers to their sites or channel so that they can then sell advertising. This may or may not be a factor in whether they run your story or not but if your story isn't interesting to others, it isn't likely to get a run.
Attention of reader is "Grabbed" by a headline or a simple introduction it answers the question 'why should I, the reader/listener/viewer pay any attention to this story.
If you have completed the tell your story training you know about the ask. A grab is like that but it isn't asking anything beyond why the story is interesting.
A grab can be click-bait (five things you should know before you die!!) or it could be a hook (Boy questioned for 10 hours over terrorist threat to kindergarten.) or it could be factual (10% of students fail university entrance exam in 2017). the Grab is generally a simple sentence and summarises the story as neatly as possible.
If you are pitching a story, have a grab (your ask) ready, if you are being interviewed the journalist or their sub-editor will usually invent the grab for you.
The angle is the theme of the news story and it is in general just one theme. It is that part of your story a journalist will use to make your story interesting enough for people to pay attention to it. Angles are usually centred around your personal experience, or your experience will be used to provide an example of the angle the journalist is taking. If you are in control of your story you should try and choose an angle for yourself, this makes it easier for people to understand and turns a personal story into a news story.
Use Telling your story to write out what you want to say to the media, the story you want published. If you have done this right, it should read like a news story.
In general news paper stories are between 400 to 1000 words long. This length doesn't allow for much swerving away from the issue you want raised, it should also be informative for others. This might be your whole story or you might need to edit your story so it concentrates on one or at most two issues you want people to know about.
Who to send your story to can be difficult to answer. If you are sending it into a small news outlet like a local paper there may be little choice, for larger outlets there may be a particular journalist who has previously written about similar stories, this can also be the wrong person to send it to if those similar stories are recent (they wont want too many of the same story being published close together). It is always better to start somewhere that might be sympathetic though (the particular journalist) or sending it to a sympathetic news outlet or online service (like our website).
Always include a headline (doesn't have to be perfect but needs to avoid the click-bait headlines you get in social media), the story and your contact details. Try to include a photo (of your face or family-with permission) they may not use it but might help their deliberations. Don't send any original documents, you can also just tell them that you have these documents and offer to provide copies if they want to pursue the story.
Talk back radio is a beast in its own right. it has two or three very active gate keepers and a silence button which can turn you off if the radio host is bored or doesn't like what you are saying. The best thing to do is wait for an opportunity to talk about your issue, have a very brief statement ready and say it as soon as you get the chance. Unlike other news outlets, you can practice with talk back radio by getting involved on other matters you may have something to say. then when the opportunity arises, you may have enough experience to act quickly. Always remember though, the radio host controls everything about that interview.