Examine your media work
Recent exam results have seen local media fall over themselves to showcase schools that have been successful. It’s as certain as Christmas features in December that the latter half of August will deliver photos of smiling students holding their results sheets and headlines about exam success.
Take a look at any local paper over the last few years and you’ll probably discern a pattern in that coverage. The same schools whose students are in the photographs. The introductory paragraphs carrying news and quotes from X School and Y school as in previous years. And some schools hardly being mentioned despite their results probably being just as laudable as those that were featured.
Why the difference between the exposure those schools get? Two reasons stand out. The first is that some schools have everything ready for results days. They’ll have contacted the media saying that they welcome a photographer, or a broadcast reporter to talk to students. They’ll have press releases ready to be issued (and schools know the results the day before they are released to the wider world), and they’ll have a senior teacher available for further comment. The other factor will be the quality of relationship that a school has built with the paper or radio station over a period of time.
Children and young people are newsworthy. Schools are newsworthy. Local youngsters. Local parents and other family and friends as readers/listeners. School news can be manna for local media. If a school doesn’t recognise that it’s got at least two pieces of news a month then it’s missing a trick. Produce the releases, set up the photo opportunities, and make yourself a frequent, regular and reliable source of stories and ideas. Invite the editor or a reporter to your school for lunch, take a group of students to the paper or studio, ask the newspaper to come in and work with a class for a day on producing a school paper – all build the relationship and are stories in themselves.
Exams results? Set yourself a test and ask the questions;
If either answer is “no”, then now’s the time to change it.
Posted on: 28th August 2010 in
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