29. Publicize your story

The media is always looking for local interest stories. How would you like to see your favorite tree in the local paper’s headlines? How about a TV report on your school tree planting? The media does not know your story exists until you tell them.

Areas of Interest: Networking, Technology, Writing
Ingredients: Fax machine, camera, telephone, computer
Take a photograph of your favorite tree – Outline the full story of the tree: how it got there, what type it is, how old it is, where people can find it and why you find it so appealing. Contact the editor of the Home and Garden Section of your local papers. Learn their submission requirements and be persistent.
Write a letter to the editor of your local paper appreciating the urban forest — Share your thoughts and your concerns in an editorial piece. Encourage your fellow community members to take action with you. Express the thoughts you want your elected officials to know. If you are knowledgeable about tree care, share some helpful or timely technical information.
Inform the press of your urban forest activities — Prepare press releases before your plantings, tree tours, community garden creations, Arbor Day or National NeighborWoods Day celebrations. Include the date, time, and location of your event. Give the story a creative title and write one or two short paragraphs describing what journalists can expect. Put the name and phone number of a project contact in the upper left-hand corner and mail or email it to all local TV stations and newspapers. Give each station or paper a reminder call a couple of days before the event.
Develop a relationship with the media — Find out which writers or assignment editors have particular interest in local trees and community action. Be sure to thank those members of the media who do respond and keep them informed of your activities.