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Safe Routes to School Safe Routes to School Making Connections with the Media Presented by Deb Hubsmith, Coordinator Safe Routes to School National Partnership Pro Walk/Pro Bike September 2006 SRTS National Partnership

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Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School

Making Connections with the Media

Presented by Deb Hubsmith, Coordinator

Safe Routes to School National Partnership

Pro Walk/Pro Bike

September 2006

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SRTS National Partnership

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is a growing coalition of more than 200 non-profits, government agencies, school and professional organizations working to advance the SRTS movement. It’s free to join at

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Why Focus on the Media?

  • Increases the visibility of your program

  • Attracts more volunteers

  • Boosts credibility with politicians and parents

  • Makes “Safe Routes to School” a hot issue

  • Provides opportunities to pursue additional funding

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Look for Media Opportunities

  • Capitalize on a national or international event

  • Announce new programs or program funding

  • Publicize successes and problems

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Walk to School Day

International Walk to School Day is scheduled for Wednesday, October 4, 2006 and provides a fantastic way to secure media attention to help propel your Safe Routes to School program.

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Marin County, CA Case Study

  • Year 2000 launched SRTS through W2SD

  • Used “Staging Areas” for speeches and got media coverage

  • Visuals: Walking School Buses, Bike Trains, and Kid Signs

  • Treats at School

  • Sign-Up to Volunteer

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Broome, County NY, Case Study

  • Emphasis on W2SD participation led to media coverage

  • Took photos of kids walking and biking and needed improvements

  • Health Department made presentations to school board and city

  • Now gearing up to apply for a grant from the NY DOT

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Your Media Plan

  • Get permission from the school in advance

  • Identify key spokespeople including a parent, student, police officer, school official, and politician and provide talking points

  • Create visuals for the event

  • Plan what happens next after W2SD so that you can announce a key meeting or event through the media

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Types of Media

  • Newspapers (calendar, features, news stories, letter to the editor, editorial page)

  • Radio (PSA, news, feature, websites)

  • Television (news, cable, PSA)

  • Grassroots Community News (websites and newsletters of other organizations)

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Contacting Reporters

  • Make a media list

  • Develop your press release

  • Be sensitive to reporter deadlines when you call

  • Let them know why the story is relevant (traffic, safety, health, community)

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Tips for Interviews

  • Prepare and focus on YOUR key issues

  • Be concise

  • Don’t speak too quickly

  • Be friendly and honest

  • Don’t loose your cool

  • There no such thing as “off the record”

  • Don’t be led into hypothetical situations

  • Say your piece and then stop talking

  • Mention where to get more info

  • Turn the negative into a positive

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Make it Real

  • The media loves stories involving children

  • Use local “star power”

  • It’s not real until it’s in the news, so use the media and make every day Walk and Bike to School Day

  • Save your media clips to pursue funding for your program and capital improvements

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More Information


    (sample press releases, check-lists and registration for W2SD)


    (Safe Routes to School National Partnership)


    (SRTS Clearinghouse)