Working with the Media

The media can help you reach the general public and help raise awareness of cancer issues. Media stories help educate Canadians, which may help to change public opinion. This can help you to put pressure on the government. Because of these factors, working with the media should be part of an overall advocacy campaign.

Before you contact the media, you must define how any given media campaign will advance your organization’s goals and objectives. Here are just a few questions your group should answer before you get in touch with them.

  • Do we know what we want to accomplish?
  • Is our goal to raise awareness or to educate the public?
  • Or do we want to draw attention to a problem or an issue and advocate for change?
  • Have we developed key messages on the issue?
  • Who is going to speak on our behalf?

There are some simple rules you should remember when working with the media:

  • Work together with other groups, healthcare professionals and patient / survivor advocates.
  • Stick to your key messages.
  • Know what you’re asking for.
  • Don’t give up if you don’t accomplish what you want right away! Keep plugging away and always follow-up!

There are many tools and handbooks online that will help you define your message; assist you in choosing whether to contact the print media, radio, TV and/or social media; how to prepare your spokespersons; and in general, to make sure your issues are covered by the media.

Media Relations Handbook for Non-Governmental Organizations

Produced by the Independent Journalism Foundation and the Media Diversity Institute, the Handbook divides strategic communications for non-profits into three areas:  media advocacy; networking; and creating and distributing your own media.

How to get your share of media attention

How to work with the media

Citizens for Public Justice provides useful information on how to approach the media, writing media releases and how to do interviews.

Media Relations 101: A Guide to Media Relations for the Not-For-Profit sector