Working with the Media
Timeline for Media Outreach

Updated: 6.1.06

Timeline and Templates for Media Outreach

This section includes a suggested timeline for basic media outreach and how to use the media templates to support your Covering Kids & Families Back-to-School Campaign media event.

PSA Script and Community Calendars
Send three to four weeks prior to activities

Drop-In Article
Send two weeks prior to activities

Send 10 days prior to activities

Letter to the Editor
Send one week prior to activities if op-ed is unsuccessful

News Advisory
E-mail to media three or four days prior to activities

News Release
E-mail to media on the first day of activities

E-mail to media on the day of your event or mail several days before event

Bite Line
E-mail to media on the day of your event or mail several days before event

Two to Three Weeks Prior to Activities

Public Service Announcement (PSA) and Community Calendar Listing: Send the PSA radio scripts or copies of the TV PSAs to the public affairs directors at your local radio and TV stations three to four weeks prior to your event. Send your community calendar listing to the community calendar section at local daily and weekly newspapers and make follow-up calls to make sure they received the materials and to encourage them to use the announcements. For more tips on placing PSAs, download the Covering Kids & Families Guide to Placing Public Service Announcements at For copies of the Covering Kids & Families TV PSAs please contact the Communications Team at (202) 338-7227.

Two Weeks Prior to Activities

Drop-In Article: Send this article to local community newspapers, organization newsletters, relevant Web sites and church bulletins. These types of weekly/monthly publications usually need two weeks' lead time.

10 Days Prior to Activities

Op-Ed: Ten days prior to your launch, e-mail the op-ed to the editorial page editor at your local newspaper and follow up with a phone call to emphasize the importance of informing the public about Back-to-School Campaign events. Do not send an op-ed to more than one newspaper at a time.

One Week Prior to Activities If Op-Ed Is Unsuccessful

Letter to the Editor: If you are unlikely to get an op-ed printed, or if you have a second newspaper in your community, mail or e-mail a letter to the editor one week prior to your event. Encourage community partners to submit letters to the editor in support of your efforts.

Three or Four Days Prior to Activities

News Advisory: The media is interested in reporting new information on enrollment numbers and barriers to enrollment. Three to four days before your event, e-mail the advisory to TV, radio and newspaper outlets. Send it to the assignment desk (TV) or news director (radio), unless you have established relationships with specific reporters. Make follow-up calls to each outlet to be sure that reporters know about your effort.

Day of Your Event

News Release: Tailor the release to emphasize what will take place at the press conference. Consider including a quote from an elected official, a representative of your organization, the state agency that administers the Medicaid or SCHIP program, or a family that has had a positive experience with Medicaid or SCHIP. E-mail the release to TV, radio and newspaper outlets on the day your activities begin, but no earlier than the start time of your event. Follow up to see if the reporters need more information. Prepare press kits with news releases, fact sheets, etc. to give to reporters who attend or were unable to attend the event.

Audio Bite Line: Offer sound bites from an organization or coalition spokesperson to radio reporters who cannot attend your news conference or event. See Creating an Audio Bite Line for Local Radio Stations in this section for an explanation of how to set up an audio bite line.

Television B-roll: You can inform local television reporters about the availability of low-cost and free health care coverage in your state by offering Covering Kids & Families b-roll (e.g., television footage of children and doctors with patients) of the nationwide Back-to-School Campaign.

Other Useful Materials

Talking Points: These talking points are for internal use and NOT for distribution to the press. They can be used by anyone in your organization who will be speaking to the media or other audiences to interest them in your efforts. If everyone across the country adheres to these talking points, audiences in every state will hear the same message. You can add talking points to address local issues that often come up during media interviews.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): These FAQs are for internal use and NOT for distribution to the press. They will help your spokespersons prepare for interview questions, especially those that are more difficult. Tailor these to address specific issues and/or questions in your state.