How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts A

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A C T I O N C O M M U N I T I E S F O R H E A LT H , I N N OVAT I O N & E N V I R O N M E N TA L C H A N G E
MEDIA GUIDE FOR ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES
How to Leverage the Media
to Support Your Community Health Efforts
National Association of County and City Health Officials
National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
National Recreation and Park Association
Society for Public Health Education
YMCA of the USA
April 2012
ii
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
iii
TAB LE O F CO NTE NT S
Introduction............................................................................................................................................................1
Focusing the Message.............................................................................................................................................2
What is ACHIEVE?.........................................................................................................................................2
What’s Your ACHIEVE Message?...................................................................................................................2
Understanding When a Story is Newsworthy..................................................................................................3
How Have ACHIEVE Communities Focused Their Message?........................................................................4
Building Relationships with the Media..................................................................................................................5
Build Your Media Contacts List.......................................................................................................................5
Build Relationships..........................................................................................................................................5
Distribute Your Press Materials Effectively.....................................................................................................6
Speaking Effectively with the Media about ACHIEVE..........................................................................................7
How to Write a Media Advisory.............................................................................................................................9
What is a Media Advisory?..............................................................................................................................9
How to Format a Media Advisory....................................................................................................................9
When to Send a Media Advisory.....................................................................................................................9
Sample Media Advisory...................................................................................................................................10
How to Write a Press Release.................................................................................................................................11
What is a Press Release?..................................................................................................................................11
How to Format a Press Release........................................................................................................................11
When to Send a Press Release.........................................................................................................................11
Sample Press Releases.....................................................................................................................................12
How to Write a Backgrounder................................................................................................................................14
What is a Backgrounder?.................................................................................................................................14
Sample Backgrounders.....................................................................................................................................14
iv
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
How to Write an Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed)..........................................................................................................17
What is an Op-Ed?...........................................................................................................................................17
How Do I Submit My Op-Ed? .........................................................................................................................18
Op-Ed Template...............................................................................................................................................19
Sample Op-Ed..................................................................................................................................................20
How to Write a Letter to the Editor........................................................................................................................22
Sample Letter to the Editor..............................................................................................................................23
How to Write a Radio Public Service Announcement (PSA).................................................................................25
What is a Radio PSA?......................................................................................................................................25
How to Create a Radio PSA.............................................................................................................................25
Sample Radio PSAs.........................................................................................................................................26
How to Use Social Media.......................................................................................................................................27
What is Social Media?......................................................................................................................................27
How Can You Use Social Media to Convey Your ACHIEVE Message?..........................................................27
What is Blogging and How Can I Do It?..........................................................................................................28
Sample Blog.....................................................................................................................................................28
What is Twitter and How Can I Use It?............................................................................................................29
Sample Twitter Page.........................................................................................................................................30
What is Social Networking and How Can I Use It?.........................................................................................30
Sample Social Networking Pages.....................................................................................................................31
What is Online Image Sharing and How Can I Do It?.....................................................................................32
What is Online Video Sharing and How Can I Use It?....................................................................................32
Sample YouTube Pages.....................................................................................................................................32
How Can I Learn More about Social Media?...................................................................................................32
Some ACHIEVE Communities Using Social Media........................................................................................32
Press Materials Template........................................................................................................................................35
Resources...............................................................................................................................................................36
CDC’s Social Media Toolkit ...........................................................................................................................36
Media Access Guide........................................................................................................................................36
Appendix 1 – Additional Requirement ..................................................................................................................37
Lobbying Restrictions......................................................................................................................................37
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
1
I NTRO D U C T I O N
The purpose of this Media Guide for ACHIEVE
Communities is to support your efforts to create
policy, systems, and environmental changes in your
community by harnessing the power of the media to
inform the public about what change is needed and why.
Media coverage of your ACHIEVE community
message and activities can help you:
n
n
n
n
Inform the public of upcoming events.
Increase public awareness on the importance of
improving the health of your community.
Build public support for the health issue you are
addressing.
Educate stakeholders that strategies to improve
health are an important component of community
development.
This Guide is intended to help you:
n
n
n
n
n
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Focus your local ACHIEVE community message.
Identify contacts in the media who can help you
spread your message.
Build relationships with those contacts so they are
receptive to your message and understand it.
Identify newsworthy stories that convey your
ACHIEVE community message.
Prepare for and participate in interviews with
the media.
Prepare press materials that are consistent with
media standards.
n
Use social media to communicate with media,
policymakers, and the public.
Press materials included in this Guide include a media
advisory, press release, op-ed, and letter to the editor.
You can learn more about what these items are and
how to use them, and review sample materials from
other ACHIEVE communities in later sections. The
Guide also includes information about and samples
of radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and
a discussion of how to use social media to get your
message out. It includes a template that you can
customize with your local address and use to present
your press materials.
Working with the media takes time and effort.
Your ACHIEVE community coalition members
can play a key role in building media support
for your initiatives. It is most helpful to include a
representative of the media on your coalition;
that individual can advise you on what
stories are newsworthy and can introduce
you and your story to media colleagues. It
will be valuable for your coalition to include
members from organizations, such as a
health department or hospital, with a strong
public information/public relations office.
Alternatively, you may look for a community
volunteer who is willing to take on the role of
working with the media to build interest in your
message and your work.
2
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
F O CU S I NG TH E M E S SAGE
In order to work closely with the media, you need
to be clear on what your message is. Public health
strategies can be challenging to communicate to
others.
What is ACHIEVE?
ACHIEVE (Action Communities for Health,
Innovation, and EnVironmental ChangE) is a
partnership between local communities and national
organizations (including Ys, state and local health
departments, parks and recreation departments) joined
in a movement to create healthier places to live, work,
learn, and play.
agencies for decades. Policies can create sustainable
changes in systems (procedures or protocols) and
environments (changes to the places where people live,
work, and play). For many years, health programs have
focused on individual behavior, assuming that if you
teach people what will make them healthy, they will
find a way to do it. Unfortunately, being healthy is not
just about individual choices.
What’s Your ACHIEVE Message?
First, you need to determine what your overall goal
is. Here are some questions to ask yourself when
developing your overall strategy.
ACHIEVE brings together concerned community
members who take a comprehensive approach to
creating healthy environments for this and future
generations. It provides local leaders with learning
opportunities to sharpen their skills for empowering
communities to address specific health problems. Your
coalition should implement a strategic approach to
address physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation,
obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, to ensure
that healthy living is within reach of the people who
live in your community.
What is the problem you are highlighting? — This
could be poor nutrition, inadequate physical activity,
tobacco use, etc. But you should narrow your problem
to a specific population. For example, you might want
to increase the access to healthy food options in lowincome areas.
What Is Policy, Systems, and
Environmental Change?
What do you need to do or say to get the attention
of those who can make the solution happen? —
Sometimes you may need to adapt your message
to gain attention. For example, one ACHIEVE
community began a Complete Streets initiative by
stressing the health benefits of the policy. The coalition
soon found, however, that it needed to make the case
for the economic benefits of this strategy to appeal
Policy is “a law, regulation, procedure, administrative
action, incentive, or voluntary practice of governments
and other institutions.” Implementing health policies
is an effective, evidence-based strategy to protect
America’s health that has been used by public health
Is there a solution to it? If so, what is it? — Again,
try to narrow this down to a specific population or
setting. If you are focusing on outdoor recreation
areas, you could educate about smoke-free policies in
county-run parks in your area.
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
to a wider variety of stakeholders. And remember,
many strategies do not require the use of the media.
Sometimes it is easier to get your message out
through community outreach activities than through
news releases and press conferences. This may be
particularly true if your community is in a rural area
with few media outlets.
Once you have defined your overall public education
goal, then you can design the message that you want
to get out to the public. You want your message to be
simple and clear. Make sure you communicate:
n
n
n
The problem you are addressing,
Why your intended audience should be concerned
with this problem, and
What should be done about the problem.
Try to create a message that is compelling and that
people can relate to by telling the story of a specific
individual affected by the problem. By humanizing the
message, your issues will have a greater impact on the
public than if you just state statistics.
You can communicate your local ACHIEVE goals by
supporting needed changes with facts and statistics from
your state and/or local community. For example, you
may wish to include information about the incidence of
major chronic diseases in your state, city, or county. You
may be able to provide examples of change strategies
(e.g., school wellness policies, which all schools must
develop under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act) that
have already been adopted in your community.
In general, the more specific the examples of successful
actions your community and others have taken, the
easier it will be for people to understand what types
of strategies will work. And the more local you can
make your story, the more it will resonate with local
stakeholders.
3
Understanding When a Story
is Newsworthy
In working with the media, it is important to
understand what the news media consider newsworthy.
If you flood your media contacts with information that
is not of interest to them, they will begin to ignore
your communications and may miss out when you
have an important story to tell. Here are some factors
that reporters and editors consider when determining
when to report on a story:
Timing. The word news refers to that which is new.
Topics which are current make good news. If it
happened today, it’s news. If the same thing happened
last week, it’s no longer interesting.
Significance. The number of people affected by the
story is important. A law that affects 15,000 residents
of your community draws people’s attention more than
an event that impacts just a few people.
Proximity. Stories which happen close to us have
more significance. The closer the story to home, the
more newsworthy it is.
Prominence. Famous people get more coverage
just because they are famous. Adding prominent
politicians and community leaders to your coalition
can help attract reporters’ attention to your story.
Human Interest. Human interest stories appeal to
emotion. Everyone is interested in other people’s
interesting stories. Television news programs may
place a humorous or quirky story at the end of the
show to finish on a feel-good note. Newspapers often
have a dedicated area for offbeat or interesting items.
Keep these principles in mind in deciding what stories
to pitch to the media.
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
4
How Have ACHIEVE Communities Focused Their Message?
Bloomington/Monroe County (IN)
To empower individuals and catalyze organizations to be
a model community that values and embraces the healthy
choice as the easy choice through collaborative education,
policy, and initiatives.
n
We are a collaboration of organizations and businesses
throughout Bloomington and Monroe County.
n
We build healthier communities through policy, systems
and environmental change strategies.
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We support collaboration and sharing of policies and
initiatives across sectors .
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We encourage healthy, lifestyle changes in our
community.
Activate Anaheim (CA)
OUR VISION: Our vision is to create a
community where residents of all ages
engage in daily physical activity, eat
nutritionally-balanced diets, and make
positive choices that lead to longer,
healthier lives. We will do this through
working collaboratively with all
community sectors to advocate and implement policy/
environmental strategies that: provide safe areas for daily
physical activity; increase access to healthy eating choices;
and inspire action among all residents around health-related
opportunities and resources.
Syracuse, NY
ACHIEVE
Action Communities for Health,
Innovation, & EnVironmental ChangE
Bringing communities together to prevent chronic diseases & promote healthy lifestyles.
The vision of ACHIEVE Syracuse is to create a sustainable
healthy community for living, working, and playing by
creating an environment that promotes healthy behaviors
and reduces the prevalence of chronic disease.
Lake County, OH
ACHIEVE fosters collaborative partnerships between city
and county health officials, city and county government, tribal
programs, parks and recreation departments, local YMCAs,
local health-related coalitions, and other representatives
from the school, business, health, and community sectors to
implement improvements. State departments of health and
other state-level partners provide additional resources and
information to help communities meet their goals.
Examples of community-based improvements include
increased access to and use of attractive and safe locations for
engaging in physical activity, revised school food contracts
that include more fruits and vegetables and whole grain
foods, and requirements for sidewalks and crossing signals in
neighborhoods to make them more pedestrian-friendly.
The YMCA of Greater Whittier (CA)
Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), ACHIEVE is a partnership between local
communities and national organizations (including
YMCAs, state and local health departments, parks and
recreation departments) joined in a national movement
to create healthier places to live, work, learn and play.
Through ACHIEVE, partners collaborate to develop and
implement policies that make the healthy choice the easy
choice. ACHIEVE national partners include the Centers for
Disease Control (CDC), the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA),
the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
(NACDD), the National Association of County and City
Health Officials (NACCHO), the National Recreation
and Park Association (NRPA), and the Society for Public
Health Education (SOPHE). ACHIEVE, founded in 2008,
is one of Y-USA’s Healthier Communities Initiatives,
which also includes Pioneering Healthier Communities
and Statewide Pioneering Healthier Communities. The
Y’s Healthier Communities Initiatives help drive the
Y’s mission of strengthening communities by fostering
social responsibility to improve the health of the nation.
ACHIEVE convenes influential leaders in a cause-driven
effort that provides tools for Ys and their communities to
tell their story, deepen relationships, collaborate with Ys
and community partners, and demonstrate true impact.
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
5
BU I LD I NG R E L AT I O N SH I PS W I TH TH E M E D IA
Build Your Media Contacts List
The first step in working with the media is to research
and identify the news outlets you would like to cover
your ACHIEVE community’s initiative(s). You can
identify any reporters who have covered issues related
to your initiatives in the past. To make the research
easier, set up Google Alerts online (www.google.com/
alerts), so that you automatically receive updates on
relevant news stories in your area. Scan your local
newspaper daily for health and community stories.
Remember to update your media list regularly so that
you can use it for outreach efforts throughout the year.
You can purchase media contact information from
services such as Cision (www.cision.com)
or BurrellesLuce (http://www.burrellesluce.com/
Media_Outreach).
Once you’ve identified these outlets and contacts,
build an electronic media list using a program such as
Microsoft Excel. Electronic lists are easy to update,
and users can merge contacts for effortless delivery of
materials via e-mail or mail. Additionally, users can
easily track who they’ve reached out to, and responses
received. In a spreadsheet program include:
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Names of media outlets
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Key reporters and their titles and beats
n
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Contact information, including phone and
e-mail address
How he or she prefers to be contacted
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A “notes” column to list other relevant articles that
reporter has written
Known deadlines and any previous interactions that
you’ve had with the reporter.
Build Relationships
Once you have compiled your media list and are ready
to begin your outreach efforts, you can begin to build
your relationships with key media contacts. Remember
that media relations is a two-way street: you are
looking for accurate coverage of your initiatives and
reporters are looking for good stories. On slow news
days, a reporter might call you looking for story ideas.
Be sure to have some in your back pocket, if that
happens.
Here are steps you can take to build positive
relationships:
1.Call the reporter. Introduce yourself and state why
you’re calling. Ask the reporter if he or she is on a
deadline. If so, find a time to call back.
2.Have a good story. Practice your pitch before
calling. You need to know your topic well,
understand the reporter’s interests based on your
previous research, and be ready to revise your pitch
as needed.
3.Plan a good strategy. Do not use the same strategy
for every story or media outlet. Think about how to
create excitement for that particular media source or
audience.
6
4.Keep your word. Building trust with the media is
paramount. Provide follow-up information that you
promised within the agreed-upon timeframe.
5.Follow up. While you may gain coverage after
just one interview with some reporters, you may
have to contact others multiple times before they
will do a story.
6.Send thank you notes. Send a reporter a
handwritten note expressing appreciation for the
benefits gained from his or her story.
Distribute Your Press Materials Effectively
To distribute electronically, copy and paste your press
release into the body of the e-mail. Many reporters
will not open unsolicited attachments. Make sure
they can clearly see the headline and first paragraph
without enlarging or scrolling down in the e-mail, as
this will increase the likelihood your release will be
seen. Personalize each e-mail so the reporter knows
it’s not a mass message. For example, mention a story
recently written by the reporter that caught your eye,
or if you have had previous interactions with him/her,
mention when and where to jog his/her memory.
If you’d like to send your press release to a large
number of recipients, there are many online resources
available to help you increase the awareness and
visibility of your event. Some of these services
may charge a fee, so it’s important to research each
option before submitting your event materials. Some
may offer discounts to nonprofit organizations. Top
distribution sites include:
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
Business Wire (www.businesswire.com)
PR Newswire (www.prnewswire.com)
PR Log (www.prlog.org)
24/7 Press Release (www.24-7pressrelease.com)
Some free press release distribution sites include:
Free Press Release (www.free-press-release.com)
PR (www.pr.com)
1888 Press Release (www.1888pressrelease.com)
After distributing your press materials, follow up
via phone or e-mail with your media contacts for the
official “pitch.” Make your calls short and direct,
sounding confident to establish yourself as an expert
providing valuable information. Offer to send more
detailed information in an e-mail or to arrange an
interview with a local expert. It may be helpful to
write a brief script so your conversation flows more
easlily. It’s important to accommodate the media
contacts as much as possible.
If you’re unable to reach a reporter by phone, forward
your media advisory or press release, with a brief
note at the top offering to answer additional questions
or to arrange an interview. Always provide your
contact information in case the reporter needs more
information.
It’s important to build a working relationship with
your contacts by staying in touch. Send the reporter
new and useful information about your coalition or
initiative on a regular basis, say every two to three
months. This will build your credibility with the
reporter and can lead to increased publicity through
media interviews.
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
7
S PE AK I NG E F F E C T IVE LY W I TH TH E M E D IA ABO U T ACH I E VE
Keep a list of people who are willing and able to talk
with the media about your ACHIEVE community’s
initiative. When reporters call looking for more
information, in addition to referring them to those
who are “official” spokespersons for your initiative,
you will want to be able to direct them to experts in
the issue that you’re working on, community members
with a point of view supporting your ideas, and/or
others who may be affected by the issue.
When choosing a spokesperson to talk about your
ACHIEVE community initiatives, make sure the person
you choose is comfortable speaking with the media, is
knowledgeable on the issue, and is not easily rattled in
stressful situations. Dealing with the media can be fastpaced, so it is important that your spokesperson be able
to remain calm.
It may also be helpful to designate certain people on
your coalition who will speak with the media. They
should be the only people to communicate with the
press. This way, the media will not get conflicting
information from multiple sources, but the planned
message you are trying to get across.
Use the following tips to prepare for a successful
interview with the media:
Research the outlet and reporter before your
interview. Read or watch previous stories the reporter
has developed to get a sense of his/her style. Think
about what type of questions the reporter tends to ask.
Prepare any supplementary materials in advance of
your interview. You may wish to send graphs, photos,
spokespeople biographies, or information about the
issue you are addressing to the reporter in advance to
enhance your interview.
Practice before your interview with a colleague
or friend. Rehearse what you intend to say during
the interview and ask for feedback. To ensure your
points are accurately portrayed, avoid using jargon
and instead use short, catchy sentences that are easily
understood.
The day before your interview, confirm the subject,
time, location, and anticipated length of the interview
with the reporter. Keep in mind that the primary goals
of the interview are to communicate the key messages
supporting your ACHIEVE community initiative(s).
Once the interview begins, it’s useful to restate the
question in your response so that the answer is a
complete thought, and can be quoted independently. This
also will ensure that your messages are clear. Use the
following techniques to ensure a successful interview:
Bundling – To ensure your messages are concise and
clear, quantify your information and tie it together,
giving the reporter verbal clues to follow. For example,
you may say “ACHIEVE is a national partnership to
create policy, systems, and environmental changes
that reduce the burden of chronic disease and achieve
health equity. Our local ACHIEVE community
supports this goal by, say for example, “working to
reduce obesity and increase the prevalence of physical
activity in our community by... (cite specific results or
outcomes you are working toward).” This tactic will
allow all your key messages and thoughts to come
across as polished and brief.
8
Bridging – A reporter may ask you a question that
tries to distract you from your key messages or
anticipated topics. Instead of directly answering,
use the opportunity to tie it back to your points by
“bridging” your response or reform the question in
terms most favorable to you. For example, you may
respond to an irrelevant question by stating “Yes,
that’s one perspective, but what is important to
understand is…”
Blocking – In some instances, reporters may ask you
a question that you don’t know the answer to or may
not want to answer. Never say “no comment,” as it
looks as if you are trying to hide something. Explain
why you can’t answer the question, and “bridge” to
other discussion topics or offer to research the topic or
put the reporter in contact with someone who may be
able to answer the question. Follow up to ensure the
reporter has received the answer.
In addition to the above techniques, keep in mind the
following during an in-person interview:
Eye contact – If you are on camera, remain focused
on the reporter instead of staring directly at the
cameraperson. Try not to be distracted by any
commotion surrounding you.
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
Body language and voice inflection – Effective body
language and voice inflection are even more important
than actual words when it comes to how messages are
received. Sit up or stand up straight and use gestures
sparingly. Also, you may want to vary your pitch by
raising your voice slightly to emphasize key points.
Dress properly – Although there are some exceptions
(such as a walk/run), try to dress neatly and
conservatively. A professional style ensures that the
reporter and audience take your messages seriously.
These tips will help make a phone interview
successful:
Location – Try to call from a quiet place with no
background noise. For a clear and stable connection,
call from a land line, not a cell phone.
Basic etiquette – Remember to greet your interviewer
with a smile on your face. Even if the person at the
other end can’t see you, this affects the tone and
quality of your voice.
Ask questions – Since there will be no visual cues to
react to, it’s important to ask questions to ensure the
reporter understands the messages you have conveyed.
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
9
H OW TO WR I TE A M E D IA ADVI SORY
What is a Media Advisory?
Media advisories, or media alerts, are simple onepage documents that briefly alert the media to an
upcoming event they may want to attend. Advisories
provide the basics of what most journalists need to
know. They should:
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How to Format a Media Advisory
n
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At the top left side of the page, write MEDIA
ADVISORY.
Underneath MEDIA ADVISORY, include the date
of your event; for example, “For Sept. 19, 2011.”
Below the date include your contact information.
Look similar to an event invitation, including
bullets covering “who, what, where, and when”
with corresponding answers on noteworthy event
participants, photo opportunities, and how to
schedule interviews.
n
Include the contact information for your
organization or ACHIEVE community coalition so
reporters can request further details.
Advisories should be sent about one week in advance
to the calendar editor of your local newspaper, and
also the health care reporter or editor that covers local
news or events.
n
At the bottom of the page, type # # # indicating the
end of the advisory.
When to Send a Media Advisory
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
10
Sample Media Advisory
A sample media advisory from an ACHIEVE community appears below.
Lake County
General Health District
33 Mill St
Painesville, Ohio 44077
Painesville: (440) 350-2543
Cleveland: (440) 918-2543
Madison: (440) 428-4348 Ext. 2543
www.lcghd.org
Frank Kellogg, R.S., M.P.H., Health Commissioner
NEWS MEDIA ADVISORY
Contact: Tori Sinclair
Phone: (440) 350-2442 Date: May 14, 2012
PRESS CONFERENCE: BIKE DAY 2012
WHAT:
ACHIEVE Wellness Lake County will hold a press conference to discuss Bike Day
Lake County 2012
WHEN:
MAY 19, 2012; 12:00 noon – 12:45 p.m.
WHERE:
Eleanor B. Garfield Park
7967 Mentor Avenue
Mentor, Ohio 44060
SPEAKERS:
Tori Sinclair, Lead Coach, ACHIEVE Wellness Lake County
Paul Hegreness, City of Mentor
BACKGROUND:
Bike Day Lake County is working toward promoting active living and proper nutrition. Bike Day 2012 will lend
itself as an opportunity to begin to reverse the trends of chronic disease that are plaguing Lake County and its
residents.
Goals of Bike Day Lake County:
• Educate participants about biking as a means of “active transportation”.
• Provide information on bike safety and designated bike routes, trails, and bike friendly roads that exist within
the county.
• Promote biking as fun and family oriented.
• Promote healthy eating.
###
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
11
H OW TO WR I TE A PR E S S R E LE A S E
What is a Press Release?
n
Press releases, or news releases, are one- or two-page
announcements sent to the media so they will cover
your story or event. A press release goes into greater
depth than a media advisory and is written like a news
story. Press releases should:
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Contain approximately 500 words, formatted in
short paragraphs.
Use an inverted pyramid style of writing, meaning
the most important information is at the top, filtering
down to the less crucial details toward the end.
Include a quote from your organization’s
spokesperson or key event figure. If you are
partnering with another organization, its
spokesperson should also be quoted.
Close the press release with a paragraph that
provides a concise overview of your program,
including where to find additional information and
your contact information.
How to Format a Press Release
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Use letterhead or the ACHIEVE communities
template to identify your program.
At the top left side of the page, write
PRESS RELEASE.
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n
Underneath PRESS RELEASE, state the release
date and time. Most often, this will state FOR
IMMEDIATE RELEASE: and the date. If not, be
clear about when and what time you want your
release to come out, e.g., EMBARGOED UNTIL
11 A.M., Wednesday, November 2, 2011.
Below the date include your contact information.
Use an informative headline that tells what your
story is about.
Indicate the dateline or where the release originated
and that day’s date.
Double-space your copy and allow wide margins.
At the bottom of the page, type # # # indicating the
end of the press release.
When to Send a Press Release
Press releases are ordinarily issued the day of the
event, either directly before or immediately following
the event. If a media contact is on a tight deadline and
needs the information in advance, you can provide him
or her with an “embargoed” release. This implies the
reporter will honor your request to publish the story
after your event or announcement, even though he or
she has advance information.
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
12
Sample Press Releases
Two sample press releases from ACHIEVE communities appear below and on the following pages.
NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carolyn G. Griffith, Recreation Superintendent
235-8403
e-mail: [email protected]
City of Casper Named 2010 NRPA ACHIEVE Community
to Combat Obesity and Chronic Diseases
Casper, WY, December 12, 2010 – The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) recently selected the
Casper Recreation Division as a 2010 Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental changE
(ACHIEVE) community to advance the nation’s efforts to prevent chronic diseases and their related risk factors.
ACHIEVE encourages the development of collaborative partnerships in all sectors of a community, and aims to
combine public health expertise from the state and local levels with the experience of agencies that have expertise
in providing community support and outreach, such as local park and recreation departments and the YMCA. The
City of Casper Recreation Division will receive a $35,000 grant for professional development opportunities related to
health education and community outreach—including an Action Institute where community leaders can learn about
effective strategies to design, implement and effect community change—and to promote programming focusing on
issues such as physical fitness and obesity, nutrition, and tobacco cessation.
The City of Casper is dedicated to providing a variety of recreational spaces for the community while offering
quality, comprehensive recreational programming that directly or indirectly encourages healthy, active living.
Through collaborative planning, organization and input from citizens and a variety of community-based groups and
partners, the City strives to meet the challenges of inclusion, competitive balance, skill development, volunteerism,
sportsmanship and cooperation.
Through a partnership between NRPA, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO),
the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), a total of
40 U.S. communities in 23 states and one territory were chosen to be ACHIEVE communities for 2010. The 2010
communities will build upon the successes of the 2008 and 2009 ACHIEVE communities.
Recreation Superintendent, Carolyn Griffith, sees the ACHIEVE award as an opportunity and tool to strengthen
partnerships within the Casper community. “The ACHIEVE grant may prove to be the glue that holds community
health and wellness providers together as we work together to encourage people to be more active, improve nutrition
choices and develop community-wide strategies to reduce chronic disease factors.”
“Our country is experiencing a staggering increase in health issues, which we can only overcome by investing in
and supporting programming and education at the local level,” said Barbara Tulipane, CEO of NRPA. “The inspiring
efforts of our 2010 ACHIEVE agencies will enhance the health and livability of their local communities, and create
awareness of the essential services that parks and recreation provide to individuals in terms of physical fitness, health,
and wellness.”
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing
park, recreation, and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 21,000
recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation
initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital
access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrec-magazine.org.
End
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
13
September 27, 2011
Contact: Stephanie Horace
509-493-6234
[email protected]
PRESS RELEASE
Healthy People Alliance and Klickitat County Health Department Celebrates Food Day
with “Nourish” Community Screening
Klickitat County –Local organizations are joining efforts to participate in Food Day--a national movement aimed
at promoting healthy, sustainable, and affordable food systems in America. Modeled after Earth Day, Food Day is
an occasion to teach and learn about local and seasonal food, healthy diets, sustainable agriculture, food access,
school gardens, and children’s health. Healthy People Alliance of Klickitat County, a coalition of local organizations
supporting our local food system, will be hosting Food Day celebrations county-wide.
Food Day is organized around six main policy goals:
1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
2. Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness
3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
4. Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms
5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
6. Support fair working conditions for food and farm workers
Healthy People Alliance and Klickitat County Health Department are partnering with Café Drift and Goldendale
Community Library to host community screenings of Nourish, an educational initiative designed to open a
meaningful conversation about food and sustainability, particularly in schools and communities. The events will
also include information tables, guest speakers, local food producers, local restaurants, and a preview of the Nourish
Middle School Curriculum Guide.
Date: Friday, October 22, 2011
Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
Time: 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
Location: Cafe Drift
(202 Main Street, Klickitat)
Location: Goldendale Community Library
(131 W Burgen Street, Goldendale)
This event will include: light snacks served
with refreshments
This event will include: light snacks served
with refreshments
As a volunteer-supported nonprofit organization, Healthy People Alliance has been a champion for innovative policy,
systems and environmental changes to promote health to every resident of Klickitat County and to promote vibrancy
to the place we call home.
You can join the celebration and organize Food Day activities in your community! For more information on how to
inspire your community or to host a screening, visit www.healthypeoplealliance.org or contact Stephanie Horace at
509-493-6234.
###
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
14
H OW TO WR I TE A BACKGRO U N D E R
What is a Backgrounder?
Sample Backgrounders
Backgrounders are brief documents that contain
additional information about a subject touched on in
a news release. A backgrounder may accompany the
release, be distributed at an ACHIEVE community
event, or to reporters for further information. It can
be written in paragraph form, or have bulleted key
information. You could also put the backgrounder
into a frequently-asked questions (commonly known
as a FAQ) format to make it easy to read. Create a
backgrounder that highlights:
Two sample backgrounders from ACHIEVE communities
appear on the following pages. The first is specific
to policy change while the second provides general
information about the ACHIEVE coalition and goals.
n
ACHIEVE communities as a national initiative
n
Your coalition
n
Your specific initiatives
n
n
Information about the health issues that your
initiative addresses
Information about your community’s policy,
systems, or environmental change strategy.
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
Shared Responsibility: Morristown Pedestrian
Project set to launch November 8th1
10/29/11
Background Information on the Morristown Pedestrian Project
The Morris County Park Commission was one of approximately 50 recipients nationwide of an ACHIEVE (Action
Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental changE) grant from the Centers for Disease Control
(CDC). The grant is designed to enhance a local community’s abilities to develop and implement policy, systems
and environmental change strategies that can help prevent or manage health-risk factors for heart disease, stroke,
diabetes, cancer, obesity, and arthritis.
Starting in Morristown (with the eventual goal of replicating this initiative in other municipalities throughout the
County), representatives of local, state and county government agencies, the business community, non-profits, public
health and law enforcement are working collaboratively, under the leadership of the Alliance for Parks/Morris
County Park Commission, to share resources and best practices that enhance health and wellness, with a particular
emphasis on walking.
The Project Partners conducted a “Walk Around The Green” in April to identify barriers to walking and make
recommendations to improve safety. As a result of their “walk,” the Project Partners compiled a list of recommendations
(i.e., signage, markings, pavement conditions, signal timing, etc.) by transportation agency (state, county, municipal).
The Partners shared their recommendations with the appropriate agencies as a service to the citizens who live and
work in Morristown as well as visit the country seat for a variety of purposes (i.e., shopping, dining, business, etc.)
The Project Partners also recognize that while infrastructure improvements are important, educating both pedestrians
and motorists about the importance of sharing the road is critical. Outreach and education materials — a palm card
and poster — in both English and Spanish have been developed to convey the message that pedestrian safety is a
“Shared Responsibility” between those traveling on foot and by car. Pedestrians are reminded to use crosswalks and
obey all signs and signals, while motorists are required by law to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. (New Jersey’s
“yield to pedestrians” statute was changed to “stop” in April 2010.) The palm card also feature safe walking tips and
a list of walking sites in the Morris County Parks.
The Project Partners are asking all businesses in Morristown to join with them in helping to display and distribute the
outreach and education materials. Project partners and volunteers will be stopping by businesses on Tuesday, November
8 (they’ll be “electioneering” for pedestrian safety!) to drop off palm cards (in a clear, Lucite counter stand) and posters.
Businesses are encouraged to welcome these individuals into their establishments and prominently display the materials.
Community walkability matters to business! When residents, employees and visitors
feel safe walking, they’re more likely to stay longer and patronize local business.
Walkers shop, dine and help to create an exciting community “vibe.”
In addition to the outreach materials that will be distributed on November 8, “Shared
Responsibility” signs will be posted in all Parking Authority facilities and the Mayo
Center has been asked to reproduce the poster as an ad in their playbill. The palm
card and poster artwork will be posted on the Morristown Partnership, Morris County
Park Commission and Town of Morristown websites. Businesses are invited to link
to the materials and/or to post the information on their websites, as well as include it
in customer e-blasts and other outreach vehicles.
Finally, the Parking Authority has also installed signs on all parking meters around
The Green reminding patrons to use the crosswalks rather than cross mid-block.
###
1
Reprinted with permission of The Alliance for Morris County Parks – Morristown Pedestrian Project.
15
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
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





How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
17
H OW TO WR I TE AN O PI N I O N - E D I TOR IAL (O P- E D)
What is an Op-Ed?
An op-ed, or “opposite the editorial pages,” is
an opinion piece that allows you to express your
perspective in a public forum with maximum
exposure. Anyone can write an op-ed, expressing his
or her perspective on an issue. For example, members
of your ACHIEVE community coalition and partners
will be able to speak authoritatively about the issues,
as will individuals who will benefit from the initiatives
you are introducing. For example, if you are promoting
bicycle lanes, a commuter who now drives a car to
work but would prefer to bike could write about why
he or she is in favor of a bike-friendly community.
Check with the newspaper to determine the
requirements for an op-ed. Most are limited to
between 500 and 800 words.
Before you start to write, keep in mind the
following tips:
Identify which publication in your area best fits your
message and will allow maximum readership. Local
newspapers usually publish op-eds that focus on
community issues, while top-tier newspapers such as
the New York Times or Washington Post focus on a
broader, national scope.
Start early, as publications receive a large amount of
op-eds, and you might have to submit it a month or
two in advance, and sometimes more than once for it
to be seen by the right person.
Create a relationship with the editor in advance
to help push through your op-ed. Always plan out
what you are going to say before you call or e-mail
the editor and provide background information
about yourself, organization, and your ACHIEVE
community, in addition to any local and state issues
related to your initiative(s).
Remember to have one clear and concise topic or
idea. Simple messages allow readers to stay focused
and walk away with the message you are trying to
convey. For example, if you decide to write about how
community gardens positively affect your community,
provide examples that are from your local area instead
of one that takes place in another community or state.
The tips below will help you when you’re starting
to write.
Express an opinion through a strong lead paragraph
that clearly states your viewpoint and the cause you
support.
Provide background information or facts and figures
to increase the impact. You can find helpful resources
in the searchable Healthy Community databases on
the CDC’s Healthy Communities Web site (http://apps.
nccd.cdc.gov/dach_chaps/Default/index.aspx).
Use a recent local story to connect with readers and
make it personal. Use an active voice, rather than
passive voice. For example, active voice is “I quit
because smoking became too awkward,” whereas
passive voice is “Smoking is so awkward to do these
days so I quit...”
18
Keep your op-ed to about 600 words, but be sure
to confirm specific op-ed guidelines with your
newspaper.
Make sure your op-ed is reader friendly by avoiding
acronyms or terms unfamiliar to those outside your
field. Newspapers are usually written at the 5th to 8th
grade level. You can check the reading level of your
documents by enabling the readability statistics option
built into most word processing grammar checkers.
Include your name, contact information, and a
description of who you are and any other facts that
highlight your qualifications. Some newspapers will
contact you before printing an op-ed to verify your
information.
How Do I Submit My Op-Ed?
While you may submit your op-ed to several
publications at once, if you receive word that it
will be published, you have to withdraw your other
submissions, as it is usually considered an exclusive
to the paper. Publications receive a large amount of
op-eds and most newspapers won’t publish your op-ed
if they think it will be printed elsewhere or has already
been published in another outlet. Also, if your op-ed
is rejected at first, be open to modifications as long as
it keeps your message intact. Only move on to a new
outlet if you are certain that the first paper contacted
won’t publish your op-ed.
The tips below will help you when you’re submitting
your op-ed.
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
Research the publication’s guidelines for submitting
an op-ed, submission deadlines, word count minimums or maximums, and how the editor wants to
receive the op-ed (some prefer U.S. mail or fax instead
of e-mail).
Include a cover letter to introduce yourself when
sending your op-ed, include previous interactions
with the editor, a brief overview of the op-ed, and
information about your ACHIEVE community.
Place a follow-up call to the editor one week after
submitted. If he or she has not had time to look at it,
follow up a week later. Be polite; state the importance
of publishing your piece to help others. If your op-ed
is rejected, or your local paper does not publish op-eds
by community members, consider exploring online
outlets as options.
Ask the publication’s Web site editor if your op-ed
can be posted on the online version of the newspaper.
Other online publications such as Slate, iVillage,
and The Huffington Post might be interested in your
op-ed, especially if it ties into a larger theme, such as
Complete Streets.
Blogs are another online outlet to consider. Tweaking
your op-ed to directly relate to a specific readership
online can help spread your message. Many bloggers
enjoy covering local, altruistic events for their
audience and most newspapers now have online
bloggers that focus on specific issues. There may be
a local community blogger dedicated specifically
to news and events in your area and those outlets
might be interested in your ACHIEVE community
initiatives.
A sample op-ed from an ACHIEVE community
appears on page 20.
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
Op-Ed Template
Date:
Contact:
Telephone:
E-mail:
Web site:
Title: Give your op-ed a title that emphasizes the main point and attracts attention.
Opening: The introductory paragraph should engage the reader, clearly state the issue at hand, and begin with a
statement of fact, a true-life story from a third-person perspective, or a reference to current events.
Body: The paragraph should explain why the issue is important. Give overall statistics that explain the extent of
the problem. Use local statistics to help the readers empathize with the situation. Tell why this subject matters. Use
projections to indicate what will happen if nothing is done or if the current situation continues.
The body of the op-ed should also suggest a solution to the issue. Illustrate how this solution has worked for other
issues or in other areas and demonstrate how it can be implemented and the expected results. Describe local efforts
and results if they are available.
Call to Action: Ask readers or decision makers for support in a specific way.
Conclusion: Wrap up the op-ed by referencing any personal stories used in the opening paragraphs. Give a clear
picture of the situation with the solution in place. Re-emphasize the main point.
Standard Boilerplate about Your Organization:
[Insert brief description of your program]. For more information about [your program name], please visit [insert your
program’s Web address] or call [insert phone number].
[Include author name, title, and brief summary of qualifications that make him or her an expert.]
###
19
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
20
Sample Op-Ed
THE REGISTER-GUARD
Eugene, OR
It’s up to all of us to help in the fight against obesity, hunger
Guest viewpoint2
By Laurie Trieger
Appeared in print: Monday, June 28, 2010, page A7
In Oregon, and across the nation, childhood obesity and hunger rates are on the rise. One in three Lane County
children will eat out of an emergency food box this year. At the same time, one in three children born in the United
States today will develop diabetes, an obesity-related illness, losing an average of 10 to 15 years off their lives. How
can these two conditions co-exist? Consider the definition of food security and you’re on your way to an answer.
As defined at the 1996 World Food Summit, food security exists “when all people, at all times, have physical and
economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an
active and healthy life.” Without access to nutritious food, conditions of malnutrition, both hunger and obesity, are
often consequences.
Hunger and obesity can, and do, occur at the same time within the same community, the same families and sometimes
even in the same individual. This is because they share the same underlying causes. Who suffers most? Often it is low
income families that lack access to the resources needed to lead a healthy, active life.
Families trying to stretch their dollars often must buy cheaper, higher calorie foods in order to make their food
budgets last, and to stave off sensations of hunger.
While obesity-related diseases affect every community in Oregon, low-income populations and communities of color
experience a disproportionate burden of premature death and disability from these diseases.
Data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that while 25 percent of the white population
in Oregon is obese, an alarming number in itself, obesity affects more than 40 percent of the African Americans in
the state.
But income and race alone are neither predictors nor indicators of a child’s need for good nutrition. An ongoing
pattern of poor nutrition is hard on all developing minds and bodies.
Hunger and obesity are overwhelming problems, but they can be solved.
As a community, we can take a variety of steps to begin this process: supporting funding for physical education and
improvements to school food; increasing the availability of full-service grocery stores, community gardens, and
farmers’ markets; and restricting marketing of unhealthful foods and beverages to children.
— CONTINUED —
2
Reprinted with permission of The Register-Guard and Laurie Trieger.
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
And we can support community initiatives such as the Summer Food Program, which is critically important to the
health of youth in our community. All children, ages 2 to 18 years, are welcome at any of the 64 sites located in parks,
playgrounds, summer schools and other settings across Lane County, from Oakridge to Florence; Junction City to
Cottage Grove. FOOD for Lane County is a clearinghouse for information about this program and other vital, local
food resources.
By offering balanced and nutritious foods in socially acceptable, safe settings, the Summer Food Program provides a
shining local example of how to create health-promoting food environments for our youth. By including all children,
with some positive role modeling and supervision by caring adults, this program feeds kids with no stigma, no
judgment, and no cost to families. The need for good child nutrition knows no income boundaries. Children of all
ages, shapes, and colors need good food to grow and thrive.
The social conditions that have created hunger and obesity will never be addressed effectively if we remain focused
on individual behavioral changes. Problems of the magnitude and severity of obesity and hunger require we use a
comprehensive approach of collaboration, education and intervention; and adequate investment of resources, along
with making bold changes to systems and policies, in the private and in the public sector.
Some of these changes are already in progress; all take long-term commitment, investments and courage. But
children’s health cannot wait. In the meantime, with the help of a caring community, parents and their children can
take simple steps to improve their health. Sometimes a solution can be as easy as a trip to the park.
Laurie Trieger is executive director of the Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth, a non-profit organization
dedicated to the prevention of childhood obesity in Lane County. This piece was submitted on behalf of the Early
Childhood Planning Team, an advisory committee to the Lane County Commission on Children and Families.
http://special.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/sevendays/24952441-35/obesity-hunger-community-lanecounty.csp
###
21
22
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
H OW TO WR I TE A LE T TE R TO TH E E D I TOR
A letter to the editor is the simplest way to
communicate an opinion to the general public. Your
chance of having the letter printed is quite good at
smaller or less prominent newspapers or magazines.
On average, many local papers publish up to 80
percent of the letters they receive.
Make sure your letter is no longer than what the target
newspaper tends to publish. A much longer letter is
more likely to be discarded or the editor will decide
what information will be cut in order to fit the length
requirements. Short, pithy pieces are best.
Before you begin writing your letter, look at the
editorial pages of different newspapers. Often,
specifications on writing letters to the editor will be
on this page.
In general, follow these tips for writing a letter to the
editor:
Be brief and concise. Limit your letter to 250-300
words. Focus on just one concept or idea.
Refer to other stories. If possible, refer to other
articles, editorials, or letters the newspaper has
recently published. This should be done as soon as
possible after the article was published, as it will
increase the chance of your letter being printed.
Include contact information. Include your name,
address, and daytime and home phone numbers so
the paper can contact you with any questions. Also,
include any titles and degrees that are relevant to help
the media know you have expertise. And make sure to
refer to your organization in your letter.
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
Sample Letter to the Editor
A sample letter to the editor from an ACHIEVE community appears below, followed by a letter to the editor
about a Complete Streets initiative on the next page.
THE STANDARD TIMES
New Bedford, MA
Letter: Join in to help change health policy3
May 26, 2011 - 12:00 AM
Thank you for Our View: “Live healthy, reduce costs,” in today’s paper. I would like to invite all interested citizens
to get involved with a local coalition promoting a healthier lifestyle across SouthCoast. We are called “Voices for a
Healthy SouthCoast” and our next meeting is at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31, and will meet at the Southeast Regional
Health Office, 1736 Purchase St., New Bedford.
The coalition has been working for a little over a year on policy and environmental changes that will contribute to
active living, better nutrition and tobacco prevention in our 17 communities along the SouthCoast. The two lead
partners are YMCA Southcoast and Southcoast Hospitals Group.
If you would like more information, please visit our website: www.voicesforahealthysouthcoast.org or contact Nancy
LaRue Bonell, [email protected] 508-996-9622, ext. 25, or Donna Querim [email protected]
508-679-7187. We are always looking for more interested people to get actively involved in the coalition.
Thank you for continuing to bring this important topic to your readers.
Nancy LaRue Bonell
COO/VP Operations
YMCA Southcoast/Voices for a Healthy SouthCoast
http://m.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110526/OPINION/105260305/-1/
WAP03&template=wapart&m_section=
3
Reprinted with permission of Nancy LaRue Bonell.
23
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
24
THE DAILY NEWS
Iron Mountain, MI
Complete Streets Policies4
April 7, 2011
EDITOR: With spring in the air and recent car/pedestrian accidents, automobile drivers should be more aware of
non-motorized road users.
Last August, Michigan became the 14th state to adopt Complete Streets legislation which encourages road users of
all ages and mobility the use of safe and convenient roadways.
More directly stated, future transportation projects or improvements to existing roadways should take into account
all user groups, including pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, people in wheelchairs, pedestrians, and motor vehicles.
Complete Streets have bicycle lanes, sidewalks, pedestrian crosswalks and attractive landscaping, which lead to
a more active lifestyle. They offer the potential for improved public health, a cleaner environment and economic
development.
Communities that employ the design are more vibrant and inviting while also reducing long-term transportation
costs.
Examples of such projects would include:
• Expanded non-motorized pathway networks throughout the community already being worked on by the Dickinson
County Bikepath Committee — Lake Antoine trail connecter.
• Efforts by the Building Healthy Communities Coalition to support sidewalk replacement and improved nonmotorized paths.
• Safe Routes to School programs, allowing local children to travel between home and school safely.
• Traffic calming efforts in local downtowns to improve pedestrian safety including potential road diet for Carpenter
Avenue.
When is the last time you saw an elderly person or small child trying to cross a wide street with heavy traffic?
What about a bicyclist riding along the side of the road rather than the ability to use a path? What about a person in
a wheelchair unable to wheel up onto a non-ADA compliant curb?
Or the last time you saw someone walking in the street or along the side of the road due to the lack of a sidewalk?
Encouraging Complete Streets policies locally would allow each of the above situations to be addressed, ensuring
healthy, active and safe communities for future generations.
Jonathan Ringel
Iron Mountain
DDA/Main Street
http://www.ironmountaindailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/527376/Complete-streets-policies.html?nav=5111
4
Reprinted with permission of The Daily News and Jonathan Ringel.
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
25
HOW TO WRITE A RADIO PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (PSA)
What is a Radio PSA?
How to Create a Radio PSA
Public Service Announcements (PSA) are unpaid
announcements that promote government agencies,
voluntary organizations, or programs that serve the
public interest. Although you can spend thousands
of dollars recording and editing video or radio PSAs,
an economical alternative is to create copy for radio
announcers to read on-air.
Call the radio station(s) that you want to air your
message to find out who handles PSAs. It is usually the
promotions director or marketing director of the station.
Introduce your ACHIEVE community and the initiatives
you are supporting. Ask if the station will produce a
PSA on your behalf or read the copy live. Make your
request at least four weeks ahead of when you want it to
run to allow the station time to schedule your PSA.
The downside of PSAs is that they are often aired late
at night when few people are listening. To counteract
this possibility, some ACHIEVE communities have
purchased air time to promote their events. Local radio
stations will often match the number of purchased
minutes of airtime or place the unpaid PSAs in more
desirable time slots.
Write the PSA script in a conversational style. Use the
active voice and simple sentences. Include a “call to
action”—something you want the listener to do (e.g.,
call for more information).
Read your PSA out loud and time it carefully.
Media outlets typically provide 15-, 30-, or 60-second
messages and your PSAs must conform to these
formats.
n
A 15-second PSA is about 30-35 words.
n
A 30-second PSA is about 60-65 words.
n
A 60-second PSA is about 120-125 words.
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
26
Sample Radio PSAs
:15 PSA
:30 PSA
Radio PSA: 15 Tobacco-Free Parks Santa
Barbara5
Radio PSA: 30 Tobacco-Free Parks Santa
Barbara6
The great outdoors just got greater. A new law
now bans tobacco use on Santa Barbara beaches,
parks, and trails. So go ahead—breathe easy. To
find out more, call 805-681-5407.
Santa Barbara County is truly a slice of paradise.
But even paradise has its problems: cigarette
smoke can ruin a beautiful day, whether you’re
enjoying sun at the beach, a family day at the
park, or a leisurely hike. And cigarettes create
toxic and unwanted litter. So go ahead. Breathe
easy, because the great outdoors just got greater.
A new law now bans tobacco use on Santa
Barbara beaches, parks, and trails. To find out
more, call 805-681-5407.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ9H0QGJa3
M&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ntv8gkP8PPs
5, 6
Reprinted with permission of the Tobacco Prevention Settlement Program at the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
27
H OW TO U SE SO CIAL M E D IA
What is Social Media?
Social media is a term that refers to Web-based and
mobile technologies that allow people to interact with
and engage one another. Such media includes:
n
n
blogs and micro-blogs such as Twitter
social networking sites, such as Facebook and
LinkedIn
n
image-sharing sites, such as Flickr, and
n
video-sharing sites, such as YouTube
to name a few of the better known social media tools.
The key characteristic of social media is that it’s
organized around user-generated content — people
sharing messages with other people. And best of all,
social media sites are generally free so the cost of
setting up an account is non-existent or negligible.
How Can You Use Social Media to Convey
Your ACHIEVE Message?
You can use social media to communicate directly with the
public. But you can also use social media to communicate
directly with policymakers and the media. Often, reporters
will pick up a story based on what they’ve seen on
Facebook or heard about via a Twitter feed.
If your ACHIEVE community has a Web site, you
can place links to your social media channels on
your site. Some communities have found that having
an ACHIEVE Web page is a good investment,
particularly if one of the partners has an existing Web
site and you can simply add an ACHIEVE page to that
site. In such a case, you may also be able to minimize
the amount of time that you spend updating your
page by simply sending desired updates to the site’s
Webmaster who can do the updating for you.
Some points to keep in mind about using social media
are:
1)It takes an investment of time to manage the sites,
post new material, and monitor the conversation.
Before you begin, make sure that someone on
your coalition is responsible for any given social
media channel with responsibility for maintenance,
updating, and monitoring.
2)To keep your social media channels fresh and
encourage people to keep coming back, you need
to continually post new information. You may not
have a great deal of news about your ACHIEVE
efforts on a regular basis. You may therefore
wish to position your social media channel as an
authoritative source of reliable health-related news
and update it weekly with new stories on health
topics related to your initiative.
3)Social media is defined by the presence of usergenerated content. That means that people will be
having a conversation with you by posting questions
or comments on your Facebook page; giving your
site a thumbs up or thumbs down, depending on
whether or not they like it; and responding to entries
on blogs or to videos with written comments. You
need to invest time in monitoring these comments,
listening to what people are saying to and about
you, and participating in the conversation.
28
4)Although social media sites are generally not
difficult to use, it helps to have a tech-savvy
partner to back you up if you do run into technical
difficulties.
Links to social media created by ACHIEVE
communities may be found on pages 32-34.
What is Blogging and How Can I Do It?
A blog is an online journal that is regularly updated.
Blogs may focus on a specific topic (e.g., your
ACHIEVE initiative’s work) or on a broader topic
(e.g., health news in your community). Most blogs are
formatted so that their entries are posted in reverse
chronological order (the most recent at the top) and
readers are invited to post comments in response to
blog entries.
Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) on blogging best
practices:
1.Observe the blogosphere by reading other people’s
blogs before starting your own. You can find blogs
through a blog search engine such as Technorati
(www.technorati.com).
2.Provide links to other reliable Web pages that
support the content in your blog.
3.Keep your posts relatively short, providing
enough information to support main points but not
a lot of detail. Web readers are more likely to read
shorter posts.
4.Make headlines attention grabbing.
5.Include numbered or bulleted lists to allow more
white space on the page.
6.Use sub-heads and keep your headings and
sentences short so that your posts are easy to
scan quickly.
7.Keep a consistent style and conversational tone.
8.Use keywords strategically; think about the terms
that people are likely to search for.
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
Sample Blog
Here is a sample blog entry from the Lake
County, Ohio Public Health Department, an
ACHIEVE grantee:
Lake County, Ohio Public Health
Department Blog
(http://lcghd.blogspot.com/)
Friday, December 9, 2011
Nutrition Facts and Menu Labeling Law
My apologies as it has been awhile since our last
post. I wanted to briefly discuss the recently passed
menu labeling law. The law is a HUGE step towards
providing easily accessible nutrition information to the
general public by being posted on the menus of chain
restaurants. If you would like to see more of the details
regarding the law you can visit http://cspinet.org/new/
pdf/nationalmllaw.pdf, for an excerpt from the law
beginning with Section 4205. The actually rules have
yet to be adopted for implementation.
Do you think this will change the habits of fast food
customers? Will knowing that a large latte is 405
calories or that a double bacon cheeseburger is 715
calories change our behaviors as Americans when we
are often driven to make choices on “getting the most
for our money”? This law IS a huge step in the right
direction for population based education but I wonder
if it will help unless you know the average adult should
only consume 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day and is
recommended to get at least 30 minutes of physical
activity as well. I certainly hope that presentation of
calories on menus will do at least two things; (1) that
at least 20% of patrons will change their menu choices
and (2) that the high calorie foods are slowly modified
by restaurant chains to provide reduced calorie versions
of these items. How great would it be if this law resulted
DECREASE PORTION SIZES? For more information
on how portion sizes have changed visit http://hp2010.
nhlbihin.net/portion/
Have a Healthy Day!
Posted by Lake County General Health District
at 5:19 AM
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
What is Twitter and How Can I Use It?
Twitter is an information network made up of
140-character messages called tweets. Tweets are
sometimes called “micro-blogs” because they are so short.
Twitter users subscribe to receive tweets by following
an account. Followers receive messages in their
timeline that includes a feed of all the accounts
they have subscribed to. Tweets can be read as text
messages, mobile Web sites, or on the Twitter Web site
at Twitter.com.
Twitter users share information, links, videos, and
photos, and retweet material posted by others. In
addition, you can engage in Twitter events, including:
n
n
n
Twitter Chat: Scheduled events in which your
ACHIEVE coalition can communicate with its
followers through discussion, questions and answer
sessions, and the dissemination of information.
Twitterview: This scheduled event is a type
of interview in which the interviewer and the
interviewee are limited to conversations made of
140-character messages.
Twitter Town Hall: A scheduled forum that allows
followers to submit questions on a specific topic.
Responses can be delivered through live tweets,
video, or live stream.
n
29
Live Tweeting: Tweeting live from an event to
highlight key points of a presentation and play-byplay moments.
CDC offers the following tips on Twitter best
practices:
1.Set up a profile name, image, and biography
when you establish your free account. Your profile
name should be short (15 characters maximum)
and reflect the nature of your organization.
Your 160-character biography or organizational
description should be the first post from your new
profile. Include a logo or graphic that represents
your ACHIEVE community.
2.Keep content short and simple. CDC recommends
tweets of 120 characters so that messages can be
easily retweeted by others without editing.
3.Provide more information with a shortened URL
of your main Web site. There are Web sites (e.g.,
http://tinyurl.com or http://is.gd) that can help you
shorten your URL.
4.Promote your Twitter profile in other
communication materials.
5.Engage your followers by posting on a regular
schedule.
6.Post other relevant content from partners and
followers.
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
30
Sample Twitter Page
An example of content from an ACHIEVE community’s Twitter Web page appears below.
Marquette, Michigan Twitter Page
(https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/ACHIEVEMQT)
ACHIEVEMQT ACHIEVE Mqt County
The @YMarquette has reduced joining fees for this week only. Now’s your chance to start
your resolution towards a healthier you! #Resolve
23 hours ago
ACHIEVEMQT ACHIEVE Mqt County
Start the year off right by following through with your resolutions for a healthier life and
healthier community. #NewYearNewYou
3 Jan
ACHIEVEMQT ACHIEVE Mqt County
The MQT ACHIEVE team wants to remind everyone to set New Year’s resolutions that
strengthen your life and your community #Hello2012
29 Dec
What is Social Networking and How Can I
Use It?
are distinct from Facebook profiles created by
individuals.
Social networking sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn,
are online communities where people can interact with
friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, and others
with similar interests. Most social networking sites
provide multiple ways for people to interact, such as
chat, e-mail, video, voice chat, file-sharing, blogging,
and discussion groups.
2.Ensure that there are adequate time and
staff resources available to support ongoing
maintenance of the page in order to keep content
fresh and fans engaged.
Facebook is the most popular site and has over 500
million users. LinkedIn is a business-related social
networking site.
CDC suggests the following best practices for using
Facebook to communicate:
1.Become familiar with other public health-related
social network sites. These are generally Facebook
pages used by organizations and businesses, which
3.Provide engaging posts and communication
material (e.g., videos, quizzes, games, images, etc.)
to actively and repeatedly engage users.
4.Create a comment policy about how you will
respond to inappropriate comments.
5.Collect and store comments in order to document
the conversations you sparked. This documentation
can help you evaluate your efforts.
6.Promote your Facebook page on all your
communication materials.
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
Community Commons (www.communitycommons.org)
is a site that seeks to link multi-sector local, state,
and regional initiatives working towards a vision of
healthy people in healthy places with one another. You
31
can post a profile of your community on the Web site
and network with other initiatives to discuss areas of
common interest.
Sample Social Networking Pages
Sample content from Facebook and LinkedIn pages from an ACHIEVE community may be found below.
Lake County, Ohio Facebook Page
(http://www.facebook.com/pages/Achieve-Lake-County-Ohio/100832219989826)
Achieve Lake County, Ohio
Want your kids to do better in school? Try exercise http://www.reuters.com/
article/2012/01/04/us-children-exercise-idUSTRE8030B320120104?feedType=RSS&feedN
ame=healthNews&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=309303
Want your kids to do better in school? Try exercise
www.reuters.com
(Reuters) – Children who get more exercise also tend to do better in school, whether the exercise
comes as recess, physical education classes or getting exercise on the way to school, according to an
international
Like • Comment • Share • 2 hours ago
Achieve Lake County, Ohio
Zumbathon
Lake Health
Join us for our Zumbathon! Zumba is a fun cardio workout which incorporates international dance
styles that will have you moving and grooving during the entire workout. The choreography is simple
and easy to follow. Participants of all levels are welcome to attend. Join us Tuesday, January 17 from 6
to 8 pm at the TriP...See More
Like • Comment • Share • Yesterday at 11:08am ·
Lake County, Ohio, LinkedIn Page
(http://www.linkedin.com/groups/ACHIEVE-Wellness-Lake-County-Ohio-4106106?home=
&gid=4106106&trk=anet_ug_hm&goback=.gmp_4106106)
Our ACHIEVE Wellness Lake County is celebrating its 3 year anniversary soon. Over the
next few months we are seeking new Lake County residents and leaders to join our group
and our cause!
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
32
What is Online Image Sharing and How
Can I Do It?
Online image sharing involves posting images (photos,
artwork, etc.) to public Web sites where they can be
viewed, tagged, categorized, and used by others. For
example, you might want to post photographs of your
community to document a problem that your coalition
is targeting. If you sponsor a poster contest, you could
share the winning entries online. Popular imagesharing Web sites include Flickr and Shutterfly.
Here are some tips from CDC to enhance image
sharing success:
1.Use a name that will resonate with users when
you establish your account. Include information on
your profile page about your agency or coalition,
along with a link to your Web site, if you have one.
2.Think about the audience when choosing images.
What images will best help you achieve your
communication objectives?
3.Select, name, describe, and tag images carefully.
Choose a few well-selected pictures as you don’t
want to overwhelm the users with too many.
4.Encourage viewers to add tags, notes, and
comments to engage their interest.
What is Online Video Sharing and How
Can I Use It?
Online video sites, such as YouTube, MSN, and Yahoo
allow people to share their videos with others who can
comment on what they see. Videos can be produced
inexpensively with a webcam or camcorder and
editing software and then uploaded to the site.
CDC offers the following best practices for online
video productions:
1.Prepare content that is appropriate for
your target audience. Try to avoid technical
information, jargon, and complicated charts and
graphs. Focus instead on producing simple, easy-tofollow “stories” with human interest and a “call to
action.”
2.Keep videos short. Most sites have limits on how
long videos can be. Many users start to drop off
after three minutes, according to CDC data.
3.Promote your videos on all your communication
materials.
4.Create high-quality video by using a tripod to
stabilize the camera, appropriate lighting, and a
plug-in microphone.
5.Choose appropriate music that suits the mood
of the video and is copyright-free (unless you are
paying to use it).
6.Include a URL at the end of the video where
people can find more information.
Sample YouTube Pages
Links to YouTube pages from ACHIEVE communities
may be found on page 33-34.
How Can I Learn More about Social Media?
CDC’s Social Media Toolkit (http://www.cdc.
gov/healthcommunication/ToolsTemplates/
SocialMediaToolkit_BM.PDF) contains detailed
information about a wide range of social media. For
each social medium profiled, links to more in-depth
sources of information are provided.
Some ACHIEVE Communities Using
Social Media
Facebook
Albuquerque, New Mexico
www.facebook.com/pages/
ABQACHIEVE/166613523366681
Ashland, Kentucky
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/
HEART/200685789996702
Eastern Highlands, Connecticut
https://www.facebook.com/pages/ACHIEVECT/113117372058865?sk= wall#
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
33
Lake County, Ohio
Lake County, Ohio
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Achieve-LakeCounty-Ohio/100832219989826
http://linkd.in/uU8CNU
Marquette County, Michigan
http://www.facebook.com/ACHIEVE.MQTCTY
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/linda-j-colangelo/25/
a87/546
Northeast District, Connecticut
Rockland County, New York
https://www.facebook.com/pages/HealthQuestNortheast-CT/152971311388340?ref=ts
http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=4124227
&trk=anet_ug_hm
Rockland County, New York
Williamson County, Texas
http://www.facebook.com/pages/MonseyCommunity-Coalition-for-HealthWellness/108102729300570?sk=info
http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=4129163
&trk=anet_ug_grppro
Salamanca, New York
http://linkd.in/IfWXqR
https://www.facebook.com/AchieveSalamanca
Northeast District, Connecticut
National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
Tallahassee, Florida
Twitter
https://www.facebook.com/95210TWPH
Marquette County, Michigan
Valley City, North Dakota
http://twitter.com/#!/ACHIEVEMQT
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Valley-CityAchieve/278271655527726
National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
https://twitter.com/#!/NACDD_ ACHIEVE
Washington County, Utah
www.facebook.com/healthydixie
YouTube
Williamson County, Texas
Albuquerque, New Mexico
https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/WilCo-WellnessAlliance/173751592693671
www.youtube.com/user/ABQACHIEVE
National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzMbDtjJOg8&feat
ure=colike
https://www.facebook.com/ACHIEVENACDD
Ashland, Kentucky
Eastern Highlands, Connecticut
LinkedIn
Ashland, Kentucky
http://www.linkedin.com/
groups?gid=4127305&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr
Eastern Highland Health District, Connecticut
http://www.linkedin.com/?trk=hb-0-h-logo
http://www.youtube.com/user/EasternHighlandsHD
Lake County, Ohio
http://www.youtube.com/user/
ACHIEVELakeCounty1?feature=mhee
34
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
Marquette County, Michigan
Valley City, North Dakota
http://www.youtube.com/user/
ACHIEVEMQT?feature=mhsn
http://www.youtube.com/user/vcachieve?feature=mhee
Northeast District, Connecticut
http://www.youtube.com/user/HealthQuestNECT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljVmVid2M6E&feat
ure=youtube_gdata_ player
Rockland County, New York
Williamson County, Texas
http://www.youtube.com/MCCHW
http://www.youtube.com/user/WilCoWellness
Tallahassee, Florida
National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
http://youtu.be/8RyiCxz0whU
http://www.youtube.com/user/ACHIEVEingHealth
Washington County, Utah
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
35
PR E S S M ATE R IAL S TE M PL ATE
This optional template can be customized with your ACHIEVE community’s information and used for media
advisories, press releases, and backgrounders to give your press materials a polished appearance. A Microsoft
Word version of the template is available from your national partner.
PR E S S R E L E A S E
ACHIEVE Announces New Study Report
October 28, 2011 • New York, NY
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A C T I O N C O M M U N I T I E S F O R H E A L T H , I N N O VA T I O N & E N V I R O N M E N T A L C H A N G E
www.achievecommunities.org
36
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
R E SO U RCE S
You can learn more about how to work with the media effectively by consulting the following publications
and sources:
CDC’s Social Media Toolkit
Media Access Guide
http://www.cdc.gov/socialmedia/Tools/guidelines/pdf/
SocialMediaToolkit_BM.pdf
A Resource for Community Health Promotion, CDC’s
Healthy Communities Program (2009).
http://www.cdc.gov/healthycommunitiesprogram/tools/
pdf/mediaaccessguide.pdf
How to Leverage the Media to Support Your Community Health Efforts
37
APPE N D IX 1 – AD D I T I O NAL R E Q U I R E M E NT
Lobbying Restrictions
Applicants should be aware of restrictions on the use
of funds from the Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) for lobbying of Federal or State
legislative bodies. Under the provisions of 31 U.S.C.
Section 1352, recipients (and their sub-tier contractors)
are prohibited from using appropriated Federal
funds (other than profits from a Federal contract) for
lobbying congress or any Federal agency in connection
with the award of a particular contract, grant,
cooperative agreement, or loan. This includes grants/
cooperative agreements that, in whole or in part,
involve conferences for which Federal funds cannot be
used directly or indirectly to encourage participants to
lobby or to instruct participants on how to lobby.
In addition, no part of CDC appropriated funds,
shall be used, other than for normal and recognized
executive-legislative relationships, for publicity or
propaganda purposes, for the preparation, distribution,
or use of any kit, pamphlet, booklet, publication, radio,
television, or video presentation designed to support
or defeat legislation pending before the Congress or
any State or local legislature, except in presentation
to the Congress or any State or local legislature itself.
No part of the appropriated funds shall be used to
pay the salary or expenses of any grant or contract
recipient, or agent acting for such recipient, related
to any activity designed to influence legislation or
appropriations pending before the Congress or any
State or local legislature.
Any activity designed to influence action in regard
to a particular piece of pending legislation would be
considered “lobbying.” That is lobbying for or against
pending legislation, as well as indirect or “grass roots”
lobbying efforts by award recipients that are directed
at inducing members of the public to contact their
elected representatives at the Federal or State levels to
urge support of, or opposition to, pending legislative
proposals is prohibited. As a matter of policy, CDC
extends the prohibitions to lobbying with respect to
local legislation and local legislative bodies.
The provisions are not intended to prohibit all
interaction with the legislative branch, or to prohibit
educational efforts pertaining to public health. Clearly
there are circumstances when it is advisable and
permissible to provide information to the legislative
branch in order to foster implementation of prevention
strategies to promote public health. However, it would
not be permissible to influence, directly or indirectly, a
specific piece of pending legislation.
It remains permissible to use CDC funds to engage
in activity to enhance prevention; collect and analyze
data; publish and disseminate results of research and
surveillance data; implement prevention strategies;
conduct community outreach services; provide leadership
and training, and foster safe and healthful environments.
38
Recipients of CDC grants and cooperative agreements
need to be careful to prevent CDC funds from being
used to influence or promote pending legislation. With
respect to conferences, public events, publications,
and “grassroots” activities that relate to specific
legislation, recipients of CDC funds should give close
ACHIEVE COMMUNITIES MEDIA GUIDE
attention to isolating and separating the appropriate
use of CDC funds from non-CDC funds. CDC also
cautions recipients of CDC funds to be careful not to
give the appearance that CDC funds are being used
to carry out activities in a manner that is prohibited
under Federal law.
This document was developed by the Society for Public Health Education and is supported by Cooperative
Agreement #1U58DP001669 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents
are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

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