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Tell the Media Your Story

When it comes to a good story, the press prefers to hear it from a real person, not officials from an organization. 

FAIRGRADE has received excellent press on the grading policies issue.  But the most effective press comes from supporters who write opinion pieces, highlight efforts they are taking to personally effect change, and letters-to-the-editor of local newspapers about how FCPS' punitive grading policies are costing Fairfax County families money. 

Do you have a particularly great story to tell?  Here are some suggestions for pitching it to the press: 
  1. Piggyback off another story:  If you read an article related to the Grading Policies issue, write a letter to the editor explaining your story and how it relates to the one recently printed.  Be sure to reference the original article.  Your story has to be timely and newsworthy in order to be printed. 
  2. Contact the media in anticipation of a story:  If you are aware of actions or events officials will enact or take part in, notify the media and describe how your story focuses on "the other side" of the story.  Let them know your availability for an interview and your willingness to participate. 
  3. Be prepared:  If you are pitching a TV story, the reporter will want additional, visual materials.  Consider if you have copies of rejection letters or other materials related to your personal story that you can and are willing to share on television. 
  4. Expertise & Connectability to the Main Story:  Are you a member of the community with particular expertise on an issue related to the Grading Policies debate?  Are you a member of the community interested in organizing a Teachers Alliance for Fairgrade?  Planning a student rally or want to issue an endorsement for FAIRGRADE?  Keep the media aware of your activities via email notifications or a brief press release sent to print, radio and television news desks. 
  5. Be aware of press deadlines:  Most newspapers have daily or weekly deadlines for letter-to-the-editor and opinion pieces.  For electronic media outlets, call before the lunch hour and avoid the late afternoon. Give reporters as much lead time as possible to cover your side of the story.