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Safe Routes to School

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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Look for Media Opportunities • Capitalize on a national or international event • Announce new programs or program funding • Publicize successes and problems

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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)

  10. 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)

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Walk (and Roll) to School Day

  14. More Information • (sample press releases, check-lists and registration for W2SD) • (Safe Routes to School National Partnership) • (SRTS Clearinghouse)