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How to Save the World
Unformatted Document Text:  15 How do you obtain media coverage when major, timely issues come up? Journalists don’t really care about covering the environment. It’s just not sexy enough. -PR director in Boston Every organization shared the same sense of frustration when the topic of media coverage came up. It is tough when, no matter how much time and effort goes into writing a press release, it never gets picked up. Others have succumbed to the idea summarized by one Boston respondent who said “You just have to wait till your turn comes up and hope that when you get that phone call from the Boston Globe, you did your homework and can come up with some quotable gems.” One British media-relations officer voiced his aggravation at the press’s tendency to report on the dark side of the environment. “All they want to write about is the ‘doom and gloom.’ We are busy promoting our group’s accomplishments and the ground we’ve covered and an editor will change the entire story so that it concludes with the same bleak statistics on global warming and air pollution that we are fighting to overturn. They don’t seem to understand that many people aren’t interesting in contributing their money to a doomed cause. It’s hard when the media makes our job harder when they are in such a great position to make our work easier.” According to the interview respondents, the key to writing a successful news release or having reporters actually show up to a news conference is quite simple: make it newsworthy. There are several key factors that the interview data suggest contribute to the newsworthiness of a story. It’s All in the Timing “Timing can often make the difference in the success of a campaign,” said one longtime PR officer. Groups interviewed build up to events such as a National Arbor Day for months so that they can receive a substantial portion of coverage in one day. Earth Day is another good example of an environmentally-focused holiday, although the competition between thousands of organizations vying for press coverage is quite fierce. Stir it Up Controversial stances by environmental organizations are often newsworthy. When one New England conservation group opposed the construction of a prestigious university’s new boathouse on environmental grounds, it received coverage for weeks. This made the organization’s

Authors: Nordhoff, Andrew. and Downes, Edward.
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15
How do you obtain media coverage when major, timely issues come up?
Journalists don’t really care about covering the environment. It’s just not sexy enough.
-PR director in Boston
Every organization shared the same sense of frustration when the topic of media coverage came
up. It is tough when, no matter how much time and effort goes into writing a press release, it
never gets picked up. Others have succumbed to the idea summarized by one Boston respondent
who said “You just have to wait till your turn comes up and hope that when you get that phone
call from the Boston Globe, you did your homework and can come up with some quotable gems.”
One British media-relations officer voiced his aggravation at the press’s tendency to report on the
dark side of the environment. “All they want to write about is the ‘doom and gloom.’ We are
busy promoting our group’s accomplishments and the ground we’ve covered and an editor will
change the entire story so that it concludes with the same bleak statistics on global warming and
air pollution that we are fighting to overturn. They don’t seem to understand that many people
aren’t interesting in contributing their money to a doomed cause. It’s hard when the media makes
our job harder when they are in such a great position to make our work easier.”
According to the interview respondents, the key to writing a successful news release or having
reporters actually show up to a news conference is quite simple: make it newsworthy. There are
several key factors that the interview data suggest contribute to the newsworthiness of a story.
It’s All in the Timing
“Timing can often make the difference in the success of a campaign,” said one longtime PR
officer. Groups interviewed build up to events such as a National Arbor Day for months so that
they can receive a substantial portion of coverage in one day. Earth Day is another good example
of an environmentally-focused holiday, although the competition between thousands of
organizations vying for press coverage is quite fierce.
Stir it Up
Controversial stances by environmental organizations are often newsworthy. When one New
England conservation group opposed the construction of a prestigious university’s new boathouse
on environmental grounds, it received coverage for weeks. This made the organization’s


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