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WRITING FOR THE MEDIA
Background Materials

The main goal of a media campaign is to facilitate accurate and balanced reporting of the news you are trying to release, whether it be the results of a scientific study or your organization's legislative agenda. Your job in this campaign is to make the media's job as easy and as interesting as possible. One way to do this is to provide reporters with a sufficient amount of background material... keeping in mind that 'the right amount' does not mean dumping a lot of paper on them.

Outlined below are several types of background materials that can be included in a press kit to help reporters find the most interesting and important information the resources they need. The faster reporters can find the information they need, the better your chance at successful media placement. If your information is accurate and easy to use, then reporters are more likely to write stories that accurately depict your position/issue/report.

Sample types of background material:

  • Fact Sheets
  • Short Summaries or Case Studies
  • Biographies
  • Contact or Resource Sheets
  • Important press articles or op-eds that support your position (no more than two)
  • Pertinent Newsletters or Media Guides
  • Updates on legislative initiatives pertaining to your issue
  • Descriptions of the policy questions being addressed
  • Information on the organization(s) sponsoring the press conference, and contact information

Environmental Media Services
1320 18th Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 463-6670
ems@ems.org

©1999 Environmental Media Services