October is National Occupational Therapy Month
Dealing with the media
Is it news?
If you answer yes to that question, then your next step is to contact the media and convince them that their audience (daily and community newspaper readers, radio listeners, TV viewers) would be interested in knowing more about the story.
Occupational Therapy Month stories could cover various topics, as long as audiences will find them interesting or informative. Some topics might include:
- a new program that you recently obtained funding for;
- an interesting occupational therapy success story;
- a new assistive device that you will be demonstrating during OT Month;
- an OT Month event or activity that may involve a celebrity or community leader;
- an interesting lecture.
Consider health issues in the local news and demonstrate how occupational therapy can be part of the solution.
Contacting the media A special note, especially if you work for a hospital: Before contacting the media, please check with your public relations department or other senior management about policies and format when contacting the media.
Make some phone calls or check Web sites to find out media contact names. It is always better to send material to someone specific and to follow up with that person than to send something without a contact name. Often, this person will be the editor of a newspaper's business, health or lifestyle section, or the producer of a health or lifestyle radio/TV show.
The media like to receive something in writing, so start off by writing a simple news release and sending it to the appropriate media contact. You can then follow up your news release with a phone call.
Following up with the media
After you send out a news release, follow up with a phone call. If there is some interest, find out when the media contact would be available to interview your designated spokesperson and arrange for them to meet or talk on the phone. (Determine your spokespeople ahead of time). As with the news release, present your story over the phone in a simple, straightforward way, so the media will easily understand the story's message and the benefits for their audience.
Remember to thank the media who used your story. A note would be appreciated. Save the news releases you've sent out along with newspaper clippings, tapes and videos for your file.
Make a list of media coverage you received
Keep notes about who was contacted, their comments and which media contacts were most interested in your stories. Think about stories you might present to the media in the future.
- Areas of advocacy
- Ask for it!
- Ask for it! Fact Sheets
- Ask for it! Letter Templates
- Ask for it! Planning Guide
- Planning Steps
- Media Relations Tips
- Preparing News Releases
- Promoting OT Month
- Cost-effectiveness of Occupational Therapy in Canada
- Extended Health Insurance Lobby
- Influencing Public Policy
- Our initiatives
- Partnerships with National Groups