Educators, parents, students, business leaders, and others can play a critical role in ensuring that sufficient public attention is focused on the need to ensure that all students graduate from high school, prepared for college and career, through their networks–both traditional and social–and by alerting the news media to positive stories. This page includes guidance on how to do so.
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Methods of Notifying the Media
Write an op-ed
“Op-eds” are point-of-view articles submitted to daily and weekly newspapers and regional magazines that express the author’s position on a particular topic. These short and insightful essays, usually running from 700 to 900 words and focused on timely issues, or linked to issues that have been in the news locally or nationally, are always in demand.
Read a sample Op-ed
Write a letter to the editor
“Letters to the editor” reflect your views in a shorter format, and are usually tied to an article or editorial that has been recently printed in the newspaper. These communications are generally from 100 – 250 words long, and should add value to the originally printed article or opinion. It is not generally enough to write to agree or disagree; editors are looking for additional information that supports your opinion about why the article was good or bad, or that otherwise contributes to a reader’s understanding of the issue.
Read a sample letter
Pitch a feature article
“Feature articles” are generally solicited by the newspaper, and combine facts about an issue with human interest. You can call a paper and “pitch” the idea for this kind of article to a member of the editorial staff, but remember that your chances of having them ask you to write the article will depend on the timeliness of the issue and its relevance to the paper’s readers. A local component – linking a larger issue about secondary school reform to the “story” of a teacher or student – will increase the chances that the editor will be interested in printing something that your write.
Like good news stories, feature articles, op-eds, and letters to the editor should:
- identify the controversy around the issue.
- present interesting data that provokes interest, challenges current belief, and proves a point;
- draw attention to counter-intuitive aspects of the subject that are surprising;
- make the issues real by providing specific examples that make the point;
- enable the reader to see themselves in the story;
- make the case using colorful language; and
- present newsworthy information that often ties in with big stories in the news.