Reaching out to your local media will help ensure that the message of the Student Aid Alliance is heard by policymakers in Washington, D.C.

This includes activities such as setting up editorial board meetings, writing letters to the editor and op-ed pieces, participating in radio talk shows, and publicizing campus events. If you hold an event to raise awareness or encourage action, but you don’t invite the media, then the event didn’t happen, as far as most people are concerned.

Local and regional as well as national news stories and opinion pieces are a good way to send your message to Congress and the White House. Stories on issues of interest are clipped by staff in the district offices of representatives, and then faxed to the Washington, D.C., office to be read by your member of Congress–usually within 24 hours. The White House also regularly monitors regional news coverage.

Because the Alliance does not have a multi-million-dollar budget to deliver the message about federal student aid, it relies heavily on this kind of “free” media exposure.

Getting Started

Designate someone in your coalition as the media contact.

This person will be the main contact listed on media advisories, responsible for following up with the media and keeping track of the stories that are published.

Compile media information.

Work with your institution’s public relations office to coordinate your media activities. You may be able to use their media contact lists. You’ll need the following information to work effectively with the media. Much of this information can also be found in the local phone book, or in reference books that are likely to be in your institution’s library.