How to do media for an action
Press responsibilities and dealing directly with the media can seem daunting to many, but once you get your head around the role you’ll find it’s nothing to be feared! We encourage you to be confident and friendly and aim at building relationships with journalists at every opportunity. Here are some useful tips and info to help in your role:
Collect information for press releases
Collecting information for press releases is a really important part of the role and it’s really vital that all the information collected is correct. It’s definitely a part of the role that can create loads of extra unnecessary work if the details aren’t right. When collecting information, please think about the following:
- What is the action? (be as specific as possible)
- Why are you doing this action? What is it highlighting? Key messaging? (Please link to any useful information and research that is relevant)
- Where and when is the action?
- Who will be doing the action and how many people?
- Is it arrestable?
- If you’re using banners, wearing printed tshirts etc, what do they say? (specifics!)
Liasing with press before an action
It’s a great idea to begin building a press list and telling your local press about your upcoming actions. This could also involve pitching stories about specific performances, personal stories etc. The idea is that we want to get these journalists warmed up and interested!
Call the media! Call/email media in advance of an action - ideally even before sending the press release to pitch an exclusive.
Contact your main local newspaper, your local TV stations (ITN/ITV/BBC) and radio stations (BBC usually best as this works perfect as part of a call in show).
Prepare a list of News desks in advance and save in your phone.
Get in touch with journalists you have personal contacts with and ‘tip them off’ to actions - amount of detail according to trust level, just enough to get them excited enough to come.
Check out the Media List page to find contacts.
Liaise with media on the ground during actions
If you see journalists and camera crews walking around, go over and say hello!
- Introduce yourself, tell them who you are, ask if they need help with anything.
- Take their card and ask for their contact details to add to a journalist WhatsApp chat (if you have one). Or save them to your phone.
- It’s really important that we help media get to our trained spokespeople at every opportunity. Obviously, this isn’t always possible, but we should aim to have well prepared people in front of camera as much as we can. Keep an eye out!
A lot of press work involved coaching spokespeople and booking them in for media appearances. Things to be aware of:
- Being aware of your spokespeople available on action days and what
- Identifying people in your local/regional teams who would begood spokes
- Training people using talking points for action specific messaging
- Holding sessions for trainee and experienced spokespeople to practise answering commonly asked questions from the heart
- Communicating urgent talking points with spokes (for example if something controversial just happened and you need to know what “line” XR will take on it)
Check out our Spokesperson resources for more.
Always be sure your social media teams are prepped and ready for your action with the following:
- Timings - when is the action taking place? If it’s a public action, being sure teams are posting before and during the action. If it’s secret, be sure they know this and when exactly to start posting.
- Relevant messaging - what’s the topline message? Are any slogans being used? What’s the Call To Action (CTA)?
- Tags and Hashtags - Do you need to tag any important people or organisations? Are any specific hashtags being used on theday? Always be sure to use one or two of the well known XR hashtags ie. #ExtinctionRebellion #RebelForTruth
- Any useful content - are there any videos, images, news stories or infographics you want posted that day? Be sure your teams have them ready to go! Be sure to also have a quick and simple way of getting video and images from the action to your social media teams for posting.
If you want your content to be shared on XR UK or global channels, be sure to fill out the content form here and provide as much information as possible.
Make sure you have a livestreamer lined up for the day! You can also seethe Livestreaming section for more tips.
Make sure you have at least one dedicated photographer lined up for the day. It is very likely that in your local group, you will have some very talented amateurs, and probably at least a couple of experienced photographers. As well as people who can shoot on DSLR, consider having people to capture high-quality mobile content, that can be instantly shared.
Keeping photographers briefed
Photographers are free to shoot in whatever style they work in. All content is welcome. A few things to consider:
- If the media attend your actions they won't rely on you to get images. In case they don't, make sure to provide then with a few great shots.
- Consider also what content we can produce that the media would not have access to. The behind the scenes of the action is as interesting at the action itself.
- Think about how the content will be useful on your platforms and on the national Social Media channels. Again, how can we think beyond just showing what happened? Is there a deeper, richer story to be told through our images?
- We are trying to put storytelling front and centre. To platform other voices. Photographers might be interested in capturing both images and words - a quote from a subject as to why they are there.
Check out our photographers briefing here.