Generating Editorials

You can find contact info for all the major media in your state at: http://www.usnpl.com/ 

Successfully urging a newspaper to publish an editorial on an issue or a piece of legislation is one of the biggest “wins” a campaign can have. Not only does an editorial get the word out to the public and elected officials, but it says that the newspaper itself endorses the legislation. An article or op-ed, on the other hand, publicizes the information, but is not an endorsement by the newspaper.

You’ll need to know which editorial writer covers the topic you are interested in. Call your newspaper and find out who the editorial writers are. Depending on the size of the paper, there may be as few as one or two, or as many as eight or more. Find out who covers the kinds of issues addressed by the current legislation, and then ask for that person.

Once you get the editorial writer on the phone, introduce yourself and engage the writer by asking a question. For instance, if you are working to generate editorials on The Youth Promise Act you might begin with a question such as, “Have you heard about the national legislation to reduce youth incarceration ? No? Well, do you have a few minutes for me to tell you about it, and about how this legislation can help to curb violence among young people aroud the country through early prevention and intervention?”

At some point, ask the writer if you can drop off or mail information. Then follow up on the phone within a week to see that they got the information and if they have any questions. It is always good to provide them with a piece of new information, so it won’t seem like you’re only calling to nag them. As with all work with the media, be brief, energetic, and appreciative of their time. Keep trying, even if the first editorial takes some time to initiate. Once you’ve succeeded in placing that first editorial, you can respond by sending a letter to the editor complimenting the paper for running the piece.