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When to Contact the Media

By Barbara Florio Graham

The following is an excerpt from Barbara's book "Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity".

Daily Newspapers:

  • Editors of special sections that appear once a week can usually be reached the day the section appears or the day after, after 10:00 a.m.
  • News assignment desks should have a news and photo alert a week in advance of the event, with two follow-up phone calls, one a few days before the event, and the second early in the day of the event. These calls should be made before 10:00 a.m.


  • Most monthlies should be contacted at the beginning of the month.
  • Ask when their deadlines are for upcoming issues, and when the best time is to call.
  • If you don't know the magazine, ask the receptionist whom you should contact and when.

Local Wire Services:

  • In a large metropolitan area, ask if they have a daybook listing all the events planned.
  • Get your material to them well in advance of your event and follow up with a phone call a day or two before to make sure your event is listed and to ask for a wire reporter or assignment editor to cover it.

Target Your Media Lists:

  • Try to address your information to a specific writer or producer. To obtain these names, watch TV program credits, and note bylines on stories pertaining to your field.
  • Don't forget to ask telephone operators, researchers, and secretaries, as they are the best sources for this information. Check with them for correct spelling and pronunciation of names.
  • Keep your pitch to one page, in a light, lively style.
  • Keep the local angle in mind.
  • Offer sidebars.
  • Suggest alternate dates for interviews.


Watch key national trends to determine the best time to place stories in the media:

  • Census reports can indicate how demographics and lifestyles are changing.
  • Ads show needs to be filled and level of competition.
  • Counter trends can also make good copy.
  • Sales figures indicate consumer interest.

Barbara Florio Graham is the author of "Five Fast Steps to Better Writing", "Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity" and "Mewsings/Musings". Her Web site is

Related links:
Sources Calendar
Why Publicity Sometimes Fails
Media Relations - Behaviours Unbecoming