Local newspapers, websites, television and radio stations are often on the look-out for unusual and interesting stories. It’s up to you whether you want your story to be based purely on personal experience, or tied into an EDS charity (or campaign, hint, hint!).
But before you begin, check out our tips on getting the important matter of Ehlers-Danlos/Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD) or an Invisible Illness in to the Press.
The internet may have loads of websites you’d like to approach, but don’t neglect the value of good old local rags. Not everyone spends loads of time online, and some still love sitting down and reading the paper. Countless stories are circulating in cyberspace, and unless they hit the bigger sites, they’ll get lost in the chaos.
Plan Of Attack
Don’t be nervous! Journalists are only humans doing a job. News doesn't happen, it’s made, and staff are usually happy to talk. It’s worth making the first contact by telephone, as your words may get lost in a busy inbox.
Before you call them, be prepared! Don’t be surprised if, after spilling your guts out, the journalist asks you to email them details – of what you've just said…It can be demoralising to fire yourself up to actually make the call only to be asked for an email you don’t really want to sit and write. Instead of putting it off for another day (that never comes), type up exactly what you want to get across before you initiate contact. Then, your message appears within minutes of hanging up, while your name is still fresh in the journo's mind. Bonus!
When it comes to paper publications, find out what day they go to print – and call the day after! You’re less likely to get the time you want to chat if you call during the storm while everyone is rushing to meet the deadline. For all other news media, just avoid Mondays…
Unless you already have the name of a specific writer, you’ll probably be calling a general number. You’ll be asked what you want to talk about and say something along the lines of ‘The most neglected medical condition in the history of modern medicine, that debilitates and kills’. These may be dramatic words, but they’re true. And remember what you’re dealing with – NEWS! When did you last see a tabloid lead with a tepid headline? Most people with Ehlers-Danlos have at least a few incredible stories to tell, and tag one on to the end of the above quote to personalise what you’re saying and link the story to you.