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Generating media coverage for a Weekend Camp

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.

Who was there? What happened on the camp? 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.

What is the story?

Explain who went on the camp with regards Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and mention the spread of ages in attendance as well as mentioning leaders and equally importantly any parent helpers that may have come along.

What did the camp set out to achieve (everyday adventure, fun, challenge activities experiences) and what took place on the camp.

When was the camp and how long was it for. Is this an annual or biannual event?

Where the camp was held, describe the type of environment to which the camp is based in (woodland, open space, river etc). If the camp extended past the boundaries or activities were held in nearby locations then these also need mentioning to get a real feel to the area covered over one weekend.

Why the camp was held. is it held year after year? Was there particular reasons for the occasion (Annual, first camp, badge work, fun, challenge adventure friendship, community etc)

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?

Print, radio or even TV journalists are always keen to cover an event that has an interesting story line. If you are planning or have carried out a Scout camp then this will have many interesting elements to it and it is your job to ensure you express all of them and make it an interesting story…which is what journalists want.

Consider all of the activities involved in the camp (camping, hiking, climbing, water sports, archery, incident hike, caving, cooking, bivouacking etc) Don’t forget activities that you may take for granted as these will also need expressing: fires, tent erection, backwards cooking, sleeping overnight.

Our essence is Everyday adventure and a Weekend camp is full of it and needs to be expressed through mentioning  key words such as:

Fun

Challenge

Adventure

What quote should I use?

When including a quote, get a quote from:

A scout who has been positively affected by the camp (funny, awesome, cool, exciting) 

A Leader describing positively how the weekend has run (success, achieved, great time, challenges)

A parent describing what impression they have from the weekend (happy, friendship, busy, learning, exciting etc).

The quotes should capture the story.

What picture should I use?

When taking the picture to go with your press release, try to be as creative as possible. Do not go for the obvious photo of the kids in a group stood still while looking at the camera. Try and get action and interaction.

Take photos throughout the weekend of all the activities and make sure that the scout brand is in the shot (neckchief/scarf, logo, camp sign etc) Unless competent it is best to keep away from night photos as these rarely look good in a newspaper. The photo has got to capture the elements of:

Photo shots can always be set up with props used and consider diversity, young adults, girls and boys.

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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