Why Summer’s the Right Time for Seasonal Outreach Many of us tend to take it easier in summer—and that includes the media (they go on vacation, too, as do the politicians and other newsmakers they typically cover)! Vacations mean that the news supply may not be as rich as it normally is, and editors could be more open ... Spreading the Word
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Spreading the Word  |   June 01, 2014
Why Summer’s the Right Time for Seasonal Outreach
Author Notes
  • Francine Pierson is an ASHA public relations manager. fpierson@asha.org
    Francine Pierson is an ASHA public relations manager. fpierson@asha.org×
Article Information
Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / Spreading the Word
Spreading the Word   |   June 01, 2014
Why Summer’s the Right Time for Seasonal Outreach
The ASHA Leader, June 2014, Vol. 19, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.STW.19062014.np
The ASHA Leader, June 2014, Vol. 19, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.STW.19062014.np
Many of us tend to take it easier in summer—and that includes the media (they go on vacation, too, as do the politicians and other newsmakers they typically cover)! Vacations mean that the news supply may not be as rich as it normally is, and editors could be more open and available to a story about communication. If you haven’t ever approached a reporter, or have unsuccessfully done so in the past, the summer may be the perfect time to try it for the first time—or try again.
Informative health or consumer-interest stories that offer simple tips are perennial favorites for local news media. And you don’t have to look far for a summer angle related to communication. Here are a couple of possibilities to consider.
Hearing protection tips for summer. Hearing protection tied to a seasonal or holiday peg is something ASHA frequently pitches successfully at a national level, and the summer offers many different angles. Of course, the Fourth of July presents potential for hearing damage from fireworks displays, firecrackers and other traditional celebratory activities. All summer long, concerts, festivals and the simple increase in leisure time that gives people more time to listen to personal audio technology may increase exposure to damaging noise levels. And then there’s common summer jobs that may put teenagers’ ears at risk. One example is landscaping work, with exposure to loud lawnmowers all day. Generally, these pitches work when the tone is upbeat and helpful—noting that summer brings many enjoyable experiences, but it is important to keep hearing protection at the forefront. Including simple tips—such as wearing earplugs, limiting listening time or keeping distance from a noise source—generally goes over well.
Building kids’ language and literacy skills during summer: Summers mean a break from academics for most kids, but communication sciences and disorders professionals well know that doesn’t mean learning should stop—particularly for younger children building so much foundational knowledge. Bring this story angle to a local television station or newspaper when school lets out. You can offer easy tips for keeping a child’s skills fresh over the break, with a focus on fun ways to build oral language and literacy skills. Make the message parent-friendly by emphasizing how they can help their kids maintain their momentum during everyday activities, without forcing them to do tedious tasks. Tips could include:
  • Ask your child to imagine a perfect day and write a story about it.

  • Take “field trips” and talk about all the exciting new things you saw.

  • Start a kids’ book club or participate in a summer reading program in which a child can earn free books and prizes (a great list of programs is here).

ASHA recently recorded a podcast) with member Lyndsey Zurawski on the topic, and you could build on her tips.
These are just a couple ideas to get you started, but there are many other possibilities as well. Once you have your story idea, you’ll need to craft a short pitch to “sell” your idea (e-mail generally works best, but you may have luck reaching a reporter by telephone or connecting over social media). Make sure your pitch is relevant to the reporter you are contacting—familiarize yourself with that person and the topics he or she generally covers. Offer up experts for the piece (often yourself, as well as others), to make it easy for the reporter (for instance, you can note that you have a few local parents who would be willing to be interviewed as well).
Finally, if you pitch a reporter, make sure you are available should the reporter respond positively. Be accessible by phone and e-mail, reply quickly, and make time for an interview. Once the story airs, share it widely by posting on your website and social media channels, including it if you publish an e-newsletter or some other type of regular communication, and sending it to friends, colleagues and your extended network.
As always, if you have any questions about pitching the media, email pr@asha.org.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
June 2014
Volume 19, Issue 6