#4 Inform the press

KEEP JOURNALISTS UPDATED

Daily newspaper are still the most important medium to reach a broad public. Also, radio and television have excellent coverage. For journalists to know about your petition you must inform them and deliver relevant facts, pictures and an exciting, personal story for your cause. You should inform the press when starting your petition and invite them to all of your offline events and the submission of signatures. Maintain journalists informed about recent developments. Events that are somehow related to your petition, e.g. a public holiday, a demonstration or a law draft provide a good basis for a press release. Most people have no experience interacting with the press - but don’t be scared! They are just people and the worst that could happen is them rejecting your request. So let’s get started:

Collect contacts: Search for email addresses and phone numbers of journalists and editors which might be interested in your cause. Possible overlapping points are: similar topics (journals), regional proximity (local newspapers) or ideological proximity.

Make contact: Call the editorial staff and ask which email address you should send your information to or ask for the responsible journalist you want to talk to about your cause. It is important to send your message to the correct person or the correct department, otherwise your information (press release) gets lost.

Write a press release: Send a press release about your petition. It should be objective, present all the facts and name a contact person for further information. Check list PR:

  • Subject: A summarising sentence that makes readers curious.
  • First Paragraph: You answer direct questions such as who, what, when and where. No long introductory sentences!
  • Central section: You answer the questions “How?” and “Why?” and tell a bit about the previous story. There is some space for interesting details.
  • Celebrities: Point out famous supporters. If politicians support your petition, mention them as well.
  • Conclusion: You give all additional information: don’t forget the short link to the petition and your contact details (email address and phone number) and offer to be available for interviews. Add information on the public events you are planning.
  • Write a maximum of one page.
  • Send meaningful photos or upload them on flickR.

Online: Once an article about your petition has been published (almost all print articles are also published online), make sure the link to your petition is included! You can generate more signatures and supporters can stay updated about recent developments. Definitely call the editorials to ask about linking your petition if they haven’t done so! We do the same, but can’t keep track of every press coverage ;)

Support by openPetition: Let us know about the progress of your petition and send us your press release. We help with our know-how and advise you individually.

Network with openPetition

Publications & Material

  • Petition Atlas 18: Country Report (PDF)
  • Paper: Petitions as a tool for low-threshold public participation (PDF)
  • Annual and Transparency Report (PDF)
  • Position papers Petitionsrecht (PDF)
  • Master thesis online participation (PDF)

ongoing collections

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