If you do not already have a list of reporters, editors, columnists and producers who might cover the issue of the uninsured or the availability of Medicaid and SCHIP in your community, here are some strategies for creating one.
Some key people you will want to include are: news staffers who are responsible for assigning stories to reporters, key reporters or producers who cover health and education issues, and Hispanic and African-American community reporters, and editors of the op-ed and editorial pages of the local newspaper.
1. Check with your coalition members to see if they have a list they will share with you. If the existing list is more than six months old, call everyone on the list to make sure it is up to date.
2. If you do not have access to an existing list, create one. Begin by looking in your local phone book for listings of TV and radio stations and local daily and weekly newspapers and magazines. You can also use the U.S. Newspaper List Web site at www.usnpl.com, "Bacon's Media Yellow Book" and the "News Media Yellow Book," which can be found at your local library. Call each outlet to determine the appropriate media contact. People to include on your list are:
• Print: 1) city editor/writer; 2) writers for the calendar or community events page; 3) columnists who have an interest in health, the uninsured community and family issues; and 4) photo editor (for particularly visual events)
• TV: 1) planning editors; 2) assignment editors; 3) reporters/on-air personalities; and 4) producers of specific shows like morning shows or community programs
• Radio: 1) news directors; 2) assignment desk staff; 3) public affairs show hosts and/or producers; and 4) on-air personalities
3. Remember to include smaller media outlets on your list, including local cable access TV, community newspapers and local parenting magazines and tabloids.
If you have a bureau of the Associated Press (AP) wire service in your community, add the bureau chief or assignment editor to the list. To learn more about placing your event on the AP daybook and finding an AP bureau in your community, see the state-by-state AP bureau listing section.