Inform a journalist about ICAN
October 17, 2012
Aim: to persuade a journalist to report on ICAN’s efforts to achieve a treaty banning nuclear weapons
- Investigate: To make a journalist write a story about ICAN and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, it is usually a good idea to make a link to existing news stories about nuclear issues. To find news articles about nuclear weapons, the website news.google.com is a good place to start. Type “nuclear weapons” in the search field and start investigating. Spend a couple of hours reading, focus on new information about nuclear weapons, and try to think about how this information can be made relevant locally or nationally.
- Target: Each year journalists make thousands of news stories about nuclear weapons. When trying to make journalists include the idea of a ban on nuclear weapons in their stories, it is usually a good idea to target a journalist who has already written about the issue. So write down the names of all the journalists who have written news stories about nuclear weapons in your country. Then pick a journalist from your list and get hold of his or her contact details.
- Pitch: Before you get in touch with a journalist, it is a good idea to prepare what to say. Based on your investigation and what you know about the journalist you’ve picked, write up a short pitch. When writing a pitch, try to answer the two questions of why it is important that this particular journalist writes about ICAN and the idea of a nuclear ban, and what makes what you have to say newsworthy. Be brief and accurate. No journalist has time to sift through a wordy and poorly composed pitch to try to find that nugget of expertise or the unique perspective that you might be able to offer.
- Call: Call the journalist, and have no fear. Keep in mind that phone calls like the one you are about to make is a journalist’s most important source of information. But remember to be honest and to the point. The journalist will quickly lose interest if he or she suspects that what you say is not accurate or if he or she doesn’t understand immediately what makes this story newsworthy. If the journalist is interested, he or she will probably ask you to send an e-mail.