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Arts in Health: Improving Lives. PR Toolkit. Who we are: Pauline Malins, MCIPR, Director TP Communications and Trustee of AHSW Theresa Newton, Director TP Communications. Our credentials: both former journalists

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Presentation Transcript

Who we are:

  • Pauline Malins, MCIPR, Director TP Communications and Trustee of AHSW
  • Theresa Newton, Director TP Communications

Our credentials:

  • both former journalists
  • each with more than 15 years senior-level experience of working in the NHS and not-for-profit public relations
  • extensive knowledge of local media and key public sector stakeholder organisations
  • based in the South West

Writing for the media - guiding principles

  • clear
  • concise
  • relevant
  • informative
  • timely
  • Plain English

Your press release should follow the rules of a good news story and tell readers:

  • who
  • what
  • where
  • when
  • why
  • how

Media releases – what to include

  • one side of A4 (max 1.5)
  • short sentences, short paragraphs
  • eye-catching headline
  • intro (your most important paragraph)
  • key information – tell the story
  • quote from spokesperson
  • contact details


  • make it snappy but relevant


  • short sentence to amplify headline

Also include:

  • date
  • embargo
  • notes for editors

What makes a good news story:

  • human interest
  • new, exclusive, unusual
  • topical issues (hooks)
  • events, visits, launches
  • success
  • celebrities

Photo opportunities:

  • a picture tells a story
  • television is all about pictures
  • be creative
  • give good notice and detailed brief
  • permissions – Data Protection Act
  • audio for broadcast media

Dealing with the media:

  • get to know them
  • know and respect deadlines
  • USP – sell the story
  • follow up with a press release
  • use e.mail
  • copy and paste body of release into the e.mail

We can only expect journalists to be fair and accurate if respond in a timely manner with relevant information. You should:

  • nominate a spokesperson who can talk with authority and confidence – preferably someone who has been media-trained
  • make sure the interviewee is well briefed
  • be sure what is the interview about, context, who else are they speaking to

Make sure you know:

  • who the audience is?
  • how long the interview will be?
  • is it live or pre-recorded?
  • where?
  • when?

don’t give off the cuff comments – phone the journalist back

  • be positive, not defensive
  • prepare well
  • three key messages – make sure you get them across
  • never say no comment


  • there is no such thing as ‘off the record’
  • don’t let journalists put words into your mouth (‘so what you are saying….). Use your own words
  • be concise – don’t speculate
  • speak simply, avoid jargon, initials or long titles and ums and errs

For television:

  • often it is how you come across as much as what you say
  • look at the interviewer not the camera
  • don’t fill his/her pauses by burbling on
  • sit firmly, upright and don’t move or rock in your chair: B.B.C.
  • don’t wear anything to distracting