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Generating media coverage for a visit to the Fire Station

This is one of a series of guides that explain how everyday events in the life of a Scout Group, District or County can be used to generate media coverage.

What are the facts

All good media work begins with a press release. When starting out writing your press release make sure you answer the following questions.

Who was there? What happened? When it happened, Where it happened, and Why the event occurred.

Make sure you summarise the whole story in the first paragraph of the release. A journalist should be able to grasp the basic details of what went on by reading this paragraph. The remainder of the release is a detailed expansion of the facts.

Key Messages

Key messages are essential tools in all communications work. To be effective as a communicator you need to identify the key messages that you want to deliver and use them as a way of structuring your writing.

Every piece of communication should have a key message. Is it obvious? Do you know what it is? If a story your writing doesn't have a key message and demonstrate Scouting as a modern, growing, adventure based organisation why are you writing it?

All of your stories should provide an opportunity to deliver Scouting's key messages. These messages can be demonstrated in every part of your story from the who, what, when, where, why to the images and quotes. All of the information that you include should support your messages.

What's the story?

The key elements of this story are that through scouting young people are given opportunities to expand their life skills, be introduced to new positive experiences, increase social awareness and therefore make more positive contributions to society.

What quote should I use?

Make sure you get a quote from a young person. The quote should reflect their excitement at being a part of the event and a positive experience they have gained from attending.

Include the quote of an adult volunteer. This should demonstrate that by being involved in the visit they benefited by increasing their own knowledge as well as the reward of helping young people in gain potentially life saving skills.

What picture should I use?

When taking a picture to go with your press release try to be as creative as possible. Static shots aren't nearly as effective as action shots.

Try to get a picture of some members involved in an activity. Capture them having fun and looking like they are enjoying themselves.

Action shots tell more of a story of the experiences enjoyed on a visit than for example a static picture of a line of young people alongside a fire engine.

Stay firm

Write the story you want to write. Don't let the reporters sway your decision making. This goes along for the picture as well. Once you make up your mind for a picture you want to use, set it up and tell them what you will be using for the picture.

Its also worth checking out the template press release


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