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  • Communications

Working with local media

November 2015

A good way to communicate with new audiences is by establishing good working practices and relationships with your local media - press, TV and radio, community magazines and newsletters. 

If you do get publicity for Big Local activities on radio, TV or in any newspapers, please make sure that you let us know, so we can share the success of your work with other Big Local areas, as well as our staff, trustees and supporters.

What do local media want?

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Journalists usually look for things that fit their news agenda and will interest their target audience. So, for Big Local, your local media want topical stories that will appeal to local people.

You have a much better chance of getting your story into print, on air or on TV if you give reporters all the information, photo opportunity or news angle they need. The less work a reporter has to do the better.

Here are some tips to get your story picked up:

  • peg your activity to a current issue in the news
  • personalise it
  • make it of local interest
  • provide pictures
  • look at the kind of stories the local media have featured in the past
  • find out their deadlines - for example, when does your local paper go to press?
  • give journalists as much notice as possible so they can plan when and how to cover your story
  • check your press release for spelling mistakes, grammar and typos.

You can find our press release template and guidance here.

How to be a good interviewee

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Prepare yourself for an interview by following these top tips.

  • Know your audience – find out who will be reading, listening or watching.
  • Decide your main messages - for example, the benefits Big Local is bringing to your community, or how people can apply for a small grant from your community chest.
  • Think about the questions you are likely to be asked and how you will answer them.
  • Know the story of your area - what has happened and what is going to happen.
  • Avoid jargon, abbreviations or technical language.
  • If you don’t understand a question, ask the journalist to repeat or explain it.
  • Do not be drawn into a conversation about topics you know nothing about.

How to sound good on radio or TV

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If you are speaking or being interviewed on radio or TV, the tips mentioned above on preparing yourself for an interview all apply. Here are some additional ones:

  • Check if the interview is live or pre-recorded.
  • Ask what the first question is before you go on the air.
  • Speak clearly and slowly (we naturally speak fast when we are nervous).
  • For TV, look at the interviewer rather than the camera, and don’t fidget.
  • Let your natural enthusiasm come across.

How to use photography

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A photocall is an opportunity for journalists to come along and take photos and/or film for publication and broadcast. It might also include doing interviews with you. A good photocall is where something happens (the opening of a new shop) or there is a strong image (children holding up their anti-litter posters). Make sure you get permission, if you need it, for whatever you are planning.

Make the picture easy for the journalist to use:

  • Write ‘Press release and photocall’ above the heading in your press release.
  • Include clear details about the time, date and place of your event.
  • Write a short description of your event.You can base this on a summary of your press release.
  • Hold a photocall at the beginning of your event, when everyone is available.
  • Bear in mind the style of a newspaper when asking for photographs - action pictures are better than people standing in a row smiling at the camera.
  • A few days before your event, send the photocall information to journalists again, as a reminder.
  • Include the name and telephone number of a contact person.

If you're providing your own picture for publication, check with the paper that the resolution is good enough, add a caption, and name anyone who should be identified, reading from left to right.

Acknowledging funding

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Big Local areas must acknowledge the Big Lottery Fund by using their logo on publicity materials. This is so that people who take part in Big Local activities know that the funding comes from the Big Lottery Fund. You can download the Big Lottery logos.

It is not a requirement but we also encourage Big Local areas to use the Local Trust | Big Local logo on publicity materials and press releases. You can download our logo from the media section of our website.

Big Local areas can create their own logos and use these as well as, or instead of, the Local Trust | Big Local logo. If you are not using a Big Local logo, you should mention Big Local in your publicity to associate yourselves with the wider programme.

Useful documents and further support

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Get more information in these documents:

If you have any questions or need any further support or advice on working with local media, you can contact us or your Big Local rep. 

We can help with advice on:

  • dealing with negative media
  • writing press releases
  • using online and social media
  • keeping your local MP and councillors in the know.
Download guidance

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The Local Trust office is now at CAN Mezzanine, 7-14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR.

Our phone number has not changed, it remains 020 3588 0565.

There are changes to the direct dial telephone numbers of some staff members.

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