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How to get your local press to love you and help you (And it’s much easier than you think) (29 Oct 07)

The secret is this: they need you as much as you need them

Community groups, residents’ associations and local papers share one crucial interest: they all serve local communities.

You can help your members by publicizing what matters to them – problems, news, and changes - in the press. And the press is delighted. They’re always keen to print stories that affect local people.

So there is no reason why you can’t feed off each other and work together.

Many outsiders imagine newspapers are hard to talk to. Often when first time callers nervously ring the reporters they are shocked at how easily and quickly their story or event is snapped up.

It is important to remember that reporters are on a treadmill. Once this week’s paper has been published they are immediately faced with an empty paper that has to be filled the next week. They jump at any call or visit which may lead to a story.

And the great thing is that community groups and residents’ associations often reflect what everyone local feels. What are people worried or angry about? What excites them? What divides them?

This is all bread and butter for your local media.

Find out who your local reporter is
You first need to find out the name, number and email address of the reporter responsible for covering your area. Just phone your local paper and ask who the right reporter is.

Then, decide who will deal with the reporter

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