Wire services, newspapers, magazines, television, radio and even the Internet carry messages directly to target audiences. The key is to make sure you contact the right person with the right message at the right time. By developing "smart" media lists, you can quickly reach the key people who follow transportation issues and related topics. This is particularly important when you are attempting to educate journalists, correct misinformation or dispel myths involving breaking news.
Below are guidelines for developing effective media lists:
- Start by identifying an initial list of relevant media outlets in your geographical area. Identify one news contact at each organization who you can call regularly with a story idea, newsworthy event or response to an article.
- Think broadly. Media includes not only newspapers, magazines, radio and television, but also academic and association publications, community newsletters and the Internet.
- Call each organization to confirm or add names of journalists who cover public transportation issues, write editorials and produce news stories on such topics as local government, Congress, economic development, energy and the environment, livable cities, congestion and the special constituencies served by transit systems.
- Organize your contacts in a database that can be sorted by subject and type of media. This will allow you to target your message in a timely manner, particularly when there is breaking news to respond to or report.
- Update your media list on a regular basis to ensure you have the correct name, title, address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail address for each contact. (Some reporters change assignment areas and locations frequently.) As you develop your list, note how each journalist prefers to be contacted (i.e., e-mail, telephone or fax).