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Handling the media

It is essential for Woodard and individual schools to foster good relationships with the media, both nationally and locally. The media is an essential component to promote messages and raise our profiles.

When working with journalists:


  • Familiarise yourself with the publication/broadcast media outlet that you are trying to target to ensure that your story will be of interest to them/their readers/listeners/viewers
  • Identify a named contact within the publication/broadcast media outlet; personalise your communication for their attention¬†and forward it via email/fax/post as directed
  • Email press releases to journalists within the email & NOT as an attachment (most publications’ email systems do not allow attachments through the fire wall)
  • Put the press release headline (or a synopsis of it) in the subject box of the email to attract interest
  • Follow-up press releases with a telephone call to the individual emailed
  • Talk directly to the journalist rather than leave voicemails unless you know the journalist well
  • Observe journalists’ busy times of the day/deadlines


  • Contact a journalist before you have thought through the idea/story that you want to discuss. Ask yourself, why the journalist will be interested in what you have to say? What is the news? Is there an angle you can use to make the journalist more likely to be interested in your story (local/regional angle, current education issue, journalist has already covered story from a different angle etc)
  • Use email to sell-in a story. Use the telephone and follow the call up with an email as required
  • Include logos in an email. Anything that increases the download time of an email, increases the likelihood of a journalist pressing the delete key before even looking at the content
  • Send attachments with emails to journalists unless they have requested that an image is sent to accompany your release. They will either not get through the firewall or, if they do, they can rarely be opened apart from via the Picture Editor’s desk
  • Assume journalists will read your email. Always follow-up by telephone
  • Call a journalist on deadline unless it is absolutely critical (eg informing them of a significant change in detail/story)
  • Talk to daily morning newspaper journalists after lunch unless it is important. Always sell in stories in the mornings and follow-up with emails/telephone calls late morning (before lunch)
  • Talk to daily afternoon newspaper journalists in the morning. They are likely to be on deadline from first thing until lunchtime
  • Talk to Sunday newspaper journalists on a Friday unless you are following up a story
  • Use “off the record”. The general rule is that if you don’t want to see/hear what you say in print/on air, then don’t say it.