Policy Communication Toolkit

Module 8: Working With the Media

In the Working With the Media module, participants will learn how to communicate research and policy messages by leveraging the media. Sessions address the value of partnering with the media to disseminate information, as well as common challenges. Participants practice skills needed to effectively reach out to journalists in common ways, such as through a press news release or interview. Organizing the panel discussion with local journalists is a rewarding learning experience for speakers and participants.

At the conclusion of this module, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain what the media is and how it applies to their work.
  2. Identify common pitfalls and misperceptions of working with the media.
  3. Apply their understanding by writing a press release.
  4. Prepare for an interview with a journalist.

At the conclusion of this module, participants will have developed their own:

  1. Press release.
  2. Interview soundbite.

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What is the Media and Why Work With Them? (WM1L)

Time: 1 hr.

This presentation defines the media and explores the role the media can play in helping an issue reach a policy audience.


News Releases (WM2L)

Time: 20 min.

In this session, participants learn what a news release is and how to structure and select content for a press release.


Required Preparation

Writing A News Release (WM3A)

Time: 1 hr. or homework

Participants apply their knowledge of news releases by writing a release based on their own research. Participants benefit from exercises in Module 2 to define their key messages.


Required Preparation

The Art of the Interview (WM4L)

Time: 30 min,

This presentation introduces best practices and common pitfalls in giving a media interview


Required Preparation

Practicing an Interview (WM5E)

Time: Varies

Participants are put on the spot to answer interview questions based on the content of the news release they developed about their own research.


Supplemental Activities

Panel Presentation and Discussion With Journalists (WMS1D)

Time: 2 hrs.

In this session, three to five journalists are invited to speak about their experiences covering health issues in the media and receiving story ideas from NGOs. It offers a valuable opportunity for advocates/researchers to ask questions directly of journalists about how they can be better partners.


Working Group Session 8 (WMS2G)

Time: 1 hr 30 min.

This session allows peers and a facilitator to provide individual feedback on draft news releases and the media interview exercises.


Required Preparation