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You and your children may be eligible for low-cost or free health insurance! Programs exist in every state and the District of Columbia. For information about low-cost and free children's health coverage, visit For information on coverage for adults, read the Guides to Finding Health Insurance Coverage in Your State from Cover the Uninsured.

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Working with the Media
Pitching B-roll to Local Television Stations

Related Materials

Document Type Tools of the Trade
This presentation will walk you through the basics of media outreach, from pitching stories to developing on-message talking points.
File size: 807.4KB

Document Type Taking Your Media Campaign to the Next Level
This presentation details more long-term media strategy, including media budgets and planning.
File size: 7.1MB

Updated: 6.1.06      Printable Printable version

What is b-roll?

In a television news segment, b-roll is the video that is shown while an anchor or reporter is narrating the story. A standard television news story includes: 1) a reporter's narration, known as the voice over, or VO; 2) b-roll, or the video that accompanies the narration; and 3) sound bites, or interviews with various people related to the story.

Why is b-roll important to TV reporters who are covering a story such as the Covering Kids & Families Back-to-School Campaign?

Ideally, when you are watching a TV news story, reporters want the words that viewers hear and the pictures they see to match and convey the same message. For instance, when you are watching a story about Covering Kids & Families and hearing one of our core message points: "Health care coverage helps keep children healthy... and healthy students are better prepared to learn," the reporter may choose to show b-roll of a child at a doctor's office or kids learning in a classroom during the narration. B-roll helps us make certain that TV reporters effectively convey Covering Kids & Families key messages. Some b-roll images that viewers might see in a Covering Kids & Families story include:

• Children and doctors during a checkup
• Young athletes playing school sports
• Parents caring for their children
• Kids boarding a school bus
• Students learning in a classroom
Covering Kids & Families outreach events

How can b-roll help your local Covering Kids & Families Back-to-School Campaign effort?

Because many television stations do not have tape libraries with stock footage of children and students or cannot send out a camera crew to cover every news story, Covering Kids & Families distributes broadcast-quality b-roll to TV outlets and interested grantees. B-roll provides reporters with the images of happy, healthy children that convey the peace of mind that families can feel when they enroll their kids in low-cost or free health coverage. Letting TV stations know that you will be offering broadcast-quality b-roll might entice them to attend your event.

How do you pitch b-roll?

1. Call area TV stations and ask to speak with the assignment editor, satellite producer or the newsroom staff person who coordinates satellite feeds. (See Do's and Don'ts for Media Pitching.)

2. Customize the following template pitch points for use in your city. **Stay tuned to the Covering Kids & Families listserv for information regarding the date, time and satellite coordinates for the feed.**

  • Hello, my name is [XX] and I am with [Covering Kids & Families COALITION]. Do you have a moment to talk about a story?
  • There are [# OF UNINSURED CHILDREN] uninsured children in [STATE]. [MOST or # OF ELIGIBLE CHILDREN] of these children are eligible for [LOW-COST OR FREE] health care coverage right now through a program called [MEDICAID/SCHIP PROGRAM].
  • [DATE] is the kickoff of a coast-to-coast effort aimed at reaching families of the 8.4 million uninsured children throughout the nation. During the Covering Kids & Families Back-to-School Campaign, coalitions like ours will be planning events to inform parents about programs like [MEDICAID/SCHIP PROGRAM]. There will be activities throughout [STATE] and the country.
  • On [DATE OF FEED] from [TIME WINDOW OF FEED], we will be feeding highlights from the national launch of the Covering Kids & Families Back-to-School Campaign in Washington, DC. The coordinates for the feed are: [SATELLITE COORDINATES]. The feed also includes sound from [NATIONAL EVENT SPEAKERS].
  • As families get ready to send their kids back to school, it's important that they enroll their children for health care coverage through [MEDICAID/SCHIP PROGRAM]. Health care coverage helps keep children healthy, and healthy kids are better prepared to learn. [MEDICAID/SCHIP PROGRAM] covers [BENEFITS LIKE CHECKUPS, HOSPITALIZATION AND IMMUNIZATIONS.]
  • Does this sound like a story you are interested in covering? I can also arrange an interview with someone from my Covering Kids & Families coalition who can talk with you about our activities during the Covering Kids & Families Back-to-School Campaign. May I give you the satellite coordinates again? Thank you for your help!

3. Follow up with newsroom contacts to see if they have additional questions about Covering Kids & Families or your coalition's efforts.

4. If the station is running a story, do not forget to set your VCR! Tracking the media coverage of your efforts will help you evaluate your campaign.

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