Engage the Media

Engaging the Media

There are several ways you can talk about your Platform2 trip in the media. Some ideas are:Local newspaper

  • Local radio station
  • Online sites (eg. youth networks; BBC regional online sites; student sites)
  • Magazines (eg. women’s mags, local council news magazines, youth press)
  • Photo galleries in news sites (eg. BBC; guardian.co.uk; Sky News)

Contacting your local newspaper

Local papers are often interested in running small stories about returnee P2 volunteers. You should remember that many people go travelling and on gap years, so you have to make your story stand out when you send your email. Things that are unique about your trip are:

  • It was a Government scheme for British youngsters who wouldn't otherwise have had the opportunity to travel
  • It didn't cost you anything as it was fully-funded by DFID
  • Tell them you lived with a host family if this was the case
  • Try to BRIEFLY highlight the main themes of your trip in your first email (eg. I was helping in an orphanage / teaching children in a local school in the Himalayas / working on an environmental project in Kenya)
  • Attach a photo of you taken AT THE PROJECT to accompany your story

You should also include details about yourself which show you are local to the paper’s area. These details should include:

  • Your name & age
  • Your street address (or family home if you have since moved out of the area)
  • The name of the secondary school and/or college you attended
Please see the following examples of email and press releases you can send to your local paper. You can use these as templates and just add in your own details.

Sample e-mail to the local paper
Sample press release

Croydon Advertiser - Clifford Twizeyemungu (July 2010)

Portsmouth News - Nessa Khandaker (July 2010)

Manchester Evening News - Nicola Cunningham (June 2010)

Wetherby News – Keyleigh Carlile in India (Sept 2009)

Contacting your local radio

The approach to radio is pretty much the same as to your local paper – except you obviously don’t need to attach photo and you can make it briefer. Please see the following sample e-mail as an example of what to send. The best bet for getting on radio talk shows are the BBC regional stations – please contact Platform2's Press Officer Mel if you’re having problems finding the one for your area.

Sample e-mail to the local radio station

In the past we have had returned volunteers on BBC West Midlands, BBC Manchester, BBC Three Counties and a Muslim station Awaaz FM. If you have contacts at your local community or student radio – please get in touch with them!

Writing for online news sites

New media has opened a whole new avenue for getting your stories heard – and many people find out about Platform2 online. News sites such as BBC regional online sites (see link below for piece by Stacey for BBC Essex) tend to want you to write your own article – around 400 words – and send it in with photos.

If you have a particular story which you think is newsworthy (eg. Sky News example below), run it by Platform2's Press Officer first (contact details below) and we can put something together for the news editor.

BBC Essex Online - Feature and photos with Stacey Reynolds (June 2009)

Sky News Online - Two pieces on P2 with photos and interview

Writing for magazines

Getting features into magazines is much harder than local media. You need to have:

  • A specific issue to write about, eg. orphanages in South Africa; life for teenage girls in India compared to Britain; an unforgettable relationship you built up with someone in your host country.
  • Good photos which illustrate your story
  • Know which section of a magazine your story would fit into, eg. women’s magazines, social care publication, sport magazine etc.

Here is an example of an article about returnee Anthoney Williams for Community Care, a national social care magazine:

Community Care Magazine - Feature and photo on Anthoney Williams (Feb 2009)


Sending your photos to a news website

If you are a keen photographer and have taken some really good photos on your trip, there are various news sites which have daily photo galleries. You must have a ‘theme’ to your photos and they must be in a series. For example, a returnee who had been helping to build a toilet block in Peru put together a series of photos for World Toilet Day – ending with the finished toilet block.

Again, if you’re interested in doing this, please contact Platform2's Press Officer for a list of the main photo gallery sites.

BBC Online - Farzaan Patel’s Platform2 Peru photos for World Toilet Day (Nov 2008)

The Guardian in Pictures – Gallery of Jamie Ulchima’s photos

Platform2's Press Officer
Melanie Smith
Direct Line: 0207 523 2416
Email: msmith@christian-aid.org

SAMPLE email for local paper.doc24 KB
SAMPLE email for local radio.doc28 KB
SAMPLE press release.doc34.5 KB
Share this