How to Gather the Information
There are several ways to begin developing a good media list. There are services and books, published and updated quarterly such as the Yellow Books, Bacon's, or Burrell's that categorize media for you. This is a good place to start, but be sure to check things out for yourself. Although these are good sources of information, numbers, reporters, and outlets change quickly and it is always best to verify information. These resources are also quite expensive if you do not use the media often or are limited in your geographic scope.
If your organization does not have the resources to use an outside service, you can try to contact local or regional citizen groups that work on similar issues. They may or may not give you copies of their media lists, but it never hurts to ask. If this fails, you can also check your local library for media reference books. Finally, you should always read, listen to or watch the news sources that are most important to your work. This will not only help you confirm names of reporters, editors, or publishers, but will also alter you to the tone and content of coverage to expect from each outlet.
Storing the Information
There are several ready-made database programs available through companies such as Burrell's, Bacon's, or Yellow Book. If this is out of your price range, consider making a database of your own in a simple spreadsheet program. You will want a database that can easily be manipulated, e.g., to print out call sheets, labels, or merge with letters.
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