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How to work with the media

Getting good publicity for your health initiative is crucial. It can help to promote men's health and increase the profile and credibility of your organisation.

Following these tips will help you generate the publicity you need:

  • Plan your project well in advance. If your organisation has press/PR staff, liaise with the relevant person - don't go it alone.
  • Compile a list of all the local/regional media in which you hope to get your story covered (remember local radio, television and websites too - don't focus just on newspapers). You can usually find contact details on each publication's website.  Alternatively, details are available at
  • Decide whether you want publicity before and/or after the event. If you want to entice people to attend local papers may run a short news item in advance. You may also want to consider direct advertising in a local paper.
  • When writing your news release remember it must include the 5 Ws: Where, Who, What, Why and When. (See below for an example of a press release.) 
  • Make sure the release includes a contact name and details for journalists.
  • Mention National Men's Health Week in your release. You may well get more coverage if journalists know that your event is part of a bigger, national story.
  • The press release should be distributed via email where possible. It's also worth giving the publication a call before hand to talk them through the details of your event and establish the correct e-mail address to send the press release to.
  • If you are inviting journalists to an event, think about how you will manage them in advance. Some men considering a health check, for example, may well be put off if they turn up and see 15 journalists and five TV cameras. You could consider inviting the media to attend your event at one specific time, perhaps before your event is open to the public, and arranging for men who are willing to talk to the media to be present. Remember, it's very important for the media to be able to talk to 'case studies' (i.e. 'real people'), not just the experts. (We need case studies nationally too - click here for more info.) 
  • Get the support of local celebrities or dignitaries, if possible. Your local MP may attend, for example, especially if given enough notice. If you can't get a VIP to turn up, try and get a written statement of support which you can quote in your press release.
  • Take decent quality photographs of the event. These may be useful for some media but also for your own records (they will look impressive in your annual report). If you produce digital photographs which can be e-mailed, so much the better.
  • Make sure someone is available to deal with media enquiries, especially on the day of your event.
  • After the event, contact key journalists with some key facts demonstrating the success of your event, e.g. 'we saw 30 men, 10 of whom were obese and didn't know it.'
  • Monitor the media to keep a record of the coverage you achieved. This is especially important for funders who like to see this sort of evidence of a return on their investment. Please send copies of your cuttings (and photos) to the Men's Health Forum too - this will enable us to assess the overall impact of the Week.

The Men's Health Forum will be generating media coverage at a national level. The coverage during previous Weeks has been very substantial by the usual standards of a national health event. We hope to generate even more in 2008.

However, it is important to be aware that national publicity about a health week will have a limited impact on men in your area. There is no substitute for the effective exploitation of local media opportunities to complement whatever appears in the national media. It is also vital to use other means of communication to reach men locally (eg. posters, leaflets, community or workplace newsletters, e-mail groups, websites, etc.).

Example press release

Contact details: name, telephone number, e-mail address


Health Centre works with local businesses

to improve health of men at work

<Newtown> Health Centre is today launching a major new health initiative for men as part of National Men's Health Week.

Doctors and nurses from the Centre have set up a mobile men's MOT check which will tour local businesses, offering men free information and advice on how to achieve a healthy weight. Men will be able to get weighed and blood pressure and cholesterol checks will also be available.

The Centre is offering this service to encourage employers to raise awareness of the importance of men's health in the workplace. It also hopes to encourage men in <Newtown> to take better care of their health and to make more use of health services. The Centre believes that more must be done to improve men's health since too many men die prematurely, often because of problems linked to being overweight. Men are often also reluctant to visit their doctor until health problems have become serious and harder to treat.

The first company that the MOT team will visit was the local <Engineering Works>.  <Mr X Chairman> of the <Engineering Works> commented, 'We all know men don't look after their health as well as they could and I have to admit I'm no exception. It's great that the health Centre is reaching out to local businesses and really getting their message across.  You never know, a quick check-up could result in a longer life.'

<Newtown Health Centre's Director, Dr. Z> said, 'Because men are often reluctant to visit a doctor we've decided to take this new service to them. It's convenient, it's free, it's quick and it's completely confidential. We hope that this will help raise awareness with both local employers and local men about health issues.'

<Newtown> Health Centre's initiative is one of hundreds taking place throughout the country during National Men's Health Week. The Week is organised by the Men's Health Forum, a charity that promotes men's health, and is backed by a wide range of other health organisations and charities.


Notes to editors

  • The Newtown Health Centre is [describe the service].
  • The Men's Health Forum, the organisation leading National Men's Health Week, can be contacted on 020 7388 4449.
  • National Men's Health Week runs from 9-15 June. It aims to raise the profile of men's health, encourage men's health initiatives and increase men's awareness of their own health. This year, the main focus is men's health at work.
  • Men wanting health information can visit the Men's Health Forum's website,

Page created on May 15th, 2008

Page updated on December 1st, 2009