The media wants to hear from you. They’re hungry for good story ideas and they want to cover topics that people are interested in (your email tells them that at least one person is interested). Send reporters and producers story ideas that cover the issues.
1Find contact info. Next to many articles you will find the reporters email address, if that isn’t present you can contact the newsroom email address.
2Pick a topic. Ask yourself this, will their readers find the topic interesting? If you not, dig a little deeper and think of a new spin for conveying the issues. Write a 1-2 paragraph email that is friendly and convey’s why you think the topic is interesting.
If you’re feeling brave follow-up with a phone call.
“The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.”
– Edward R. Murrow
Does the media actually read your emails? Big Yes! We’ve had numerous journalists and news anchors volunteering for The Borgen Project who have confirmed this. We’ve also emailed story ideas to those generic email addresses listed on media sites (newsroom@, tips@, etc.) and had reporters respond and do stories on our suggestion.
Example 1: Relate it to the news.
Dear. Mr. Jones,
I think it would be interesting to see a story that outlines how big the Defense Budget is. The Borgen Project points out this interesting tidbit.
$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$660 billion: U.S. Defense Budget.
I think most Americans would be outraged to learn that… Especially considering the military has been vocal in calling on Congress to fight global poverty. Worth diving into.
Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Example 2: Relate it to a specific story.
Dear Mrs. Lee,
I enjoyed your story about the new Boeing contract with Ethiopia Airlines. I think a great follow-up piece would dive into how U.S. aid efforts have assisted millions of Ethiopians out of poverty and created a new market for U.S. companies to reach. A story about the return on investment that the United States receives from helping the world’s poor is much needed. Especially interesting is how it creates millions of new consumers for U.S. companies and millions of jobs for Americans. The Borgen Project has a good overview of the subject with helpful links.