Publicize Your Crime Prevention Month Event
Tips for working with the media and what you can provide to them to publicize your Crime Prevention Month event
Working With the Media
Visit your local media outlet before sending out news releases or asking for coverage of Crime Prevention Month events—as much as three or four months early.
Make an appointment. Talk to the television or radio station’s producer in charge of public or community affairs or its news director. See the newspaper’s city editor or features editor. In smaller communities, meet with managing editors or publishers.
Be brief. Leave one-page fact sheets about key prevention programs, along with your business card.
Ask about deadlines, the slowest news days, what stories might be of interest to various departments, and who to call in each department. Find out procedures for alerting the media about after-hours and weekend stories.
Schedule of Events
As early as possible, give the media a schedule of events you plan for Crime Prevention Month or for your Celebrate Safe Communities kickoff
event or initiative. As new activities are added, send a revised schedule. This “Crime Prevention Month Alert!” should briefly describe the event, when and where it will take place, and the audience.
Provide story ideas—good human interest stories a reporter could follow up on.
Make Specific Suggestions
Suggest a special program: a radio or cable television talk show that focuses on crime, drugs, and violence in the community and how they affect children; a video spotlighting the community’s local heroes—people who have helped make children’s and teens’ lives safer and better; or a weekly crime prevention column in the newspaper.
The news release presents your organization and its activities to the media editors and gives them a contact person for additional information. It should be clear, concise, and attention-getting. Remember the five W’s—who, what, when, where, and why.
- Keep the release to one page, if possible, and never more than two pages.
- Write your release on a computer. Use spell-check.
- Have someone who has never seen the release (or who is trained in proofreading) proofread it before releasing the news to the community.
- Use the standard format provided in this sample press release (DOC).
- Make high-quality photocopies. If you know people with desktop publishing skills, enlist their help.
- Send releases to media outlets at least one week before each event during Crime Prevention Month. Follow up with a phone call a day or two before the event.
- After the story appears, thank the newspaper with a letter to the editor.