Media/Press Relations

Outreach to Media
Your health department may have developed a good relationship with local media over time; you can leverage that relationship into potential coverage of the One & Only Campaign and its goals! Like many healthcare providers, media members may find it difficult to believe that unsafe injection practices are a real concern. With so many health issues competing for attention, you may have to get creative to convince journalists that the answer to the age-old media question “Could it happen here?” is “Yes!” If possible, have someone with experience, such as a Public Information Officer (PIO), tackle this outreach.  Should you decide to engage the media, your PIO should work with the SIPC to ensure proper use of the SIPC materials, logos, etc. Don’t have a PIO? The tips below will help you with media relations.

Generally media coverage revolves around timeliness to events in the news

  • Look for “teachable moments.” These may include observances of World Hepatitis Day, International Infection Prevention Week, patient safety conferences, and/or patient notifications. At a minimum, provide a news release explaining why “it really could happen here” and what your organization is doing to prevent it.  View a sample press release.
  • Post the press release on your health department’s website.
  • Send the release to your partners, and ask them to distribute the release to their media contacts.
    • Other suggestions include:

    • Call local health reporters to introduce yourself and ask if you may send them background information about unsafe injection practices. Keep your comments brief!  View a sample script.
    • Provide reporters with the One & Only Campaign patient and provider brochures, FAQs, etc., and offer to be interviewed. If they aren’t interested right now, offer to be available on a “slow news day.”
    • Invite local media to safe injection trainings, grand rounds, patient safety conferences or other related events. (If your organization is not the event sponsor, be sure to check first with media relations staff from the sponsoring organization.)
    • Remember that visuals are important—even for print media. Think about what would make a good photo opportunity at your event, and include it in your pitch.
    • Provide the link to the SIPC provider training video and suggest it could be used as (background) “B Roll” by TV news outlets, or posted on media web sites.
    • “Human” stories:  Journalists who cover health issues like to hear from patients as well as medical experts. That makes the story come to life. If you know there are people in your jurisdiction who were affected by unsafe injection practices, ask if they would consider doing an interview.
      • Patient confidentiality always comes first!  However, some people may appreciate the opportunity to tell their story.
      • Possible resources for placing a “human face” on the unsafe injections issue may be to consider local appearances by patient advocates such as Evelyn McKnight of HONOReform.
    • Take full advantage of social media.  Use your website and sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
      • In the event of an outbreak related to unsafe injection practices:

        • Should there be a need to notify patients within your jurisdiction that they are at risk of disease because of unsafe injection practices, communicating with the media will present both challenges and opportunities. Be prepared to:
          • Determine the extent of the information to convey to the news media.
          • Determine when to convey that information.
          • Determine who to coordinate with to convey that information.
          • React quickly if information is leaked to the media before it is formally announced.

        Communication resources include:

      • The Digital Press Kit is for use by anyone interested in communicating about safe medical injections. The kit includes a fact sheet about the impact of unsafe medical injections, an infographic displaying key prevention steps and consequences of not following them, a podcast, key subject matter expert bios and quotes, and information about the One & Only Campaign.
      • The Patient Notification Toolkit, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Section 2 of the kit covers planning media and communication strategies. (Note: Anticipated release for this toolkit is spring 2012). Some items covered are:
        • Writing for the Media
        • Spokesperson Preparation
        • Planning the Release of Media and Notification Letters
        • Conducting a Successful Press Conference or Media Opportunity
        • Sample Materials: Example Press Releases
        • Resources