All you need to know media guide for Moving Planet

Here's all you need to know about getting media coverage for your Moving Planet event. By working together, we can all help tell a powerful story on 24 September. Follow these simple steps and good luck!

Contents

We've found that the keys to getting good media are creativity and honesty (and a little preparation). When you're thinking about planning your Moving Planet event on 24 September, be as creative as possible: think about what will make your event especially interesting and "newsworthy." Then, when it's time to talk to the press, remember to be yourself. Talking points and "being on message" are important, but the key thing is to speak honestly and from the heart. Get comfortable by practicing telling your story about why you're getting to work on climate change and moving beyond fossil fuels, and why you think your politicians need to join you.

Key materials

Learn the Moving Planet talking points

A "talking point" is a phrase or sentence that helps succinctly explain your message for the media. Here are a few talking points to get you started for Moving Planet:

What is Moving Planet?

  • Over 2,000 events worldwide with one unified message: Moving Beyond Fossil Fuels.
  • Events large and small where we’ll be moving on bicycles, unicycles, kayaks, and on foot to represent our commitment to moving beyond fossil fuels.
  • A global rally for solutions to climate change at all levels of government.
  • On  24 September, millions of people across the globe are getting moving beyond fossil fuels as a part of Moving Planet. People are getting moving in nearly every country on earth by participating in bike rallies, marches, and many other creative demonstrations.
  • There are thousands of events taking place around the world today, including hundreds of rallies across India, Brazil and the United States, a bike-powered concert in Hamburg, Germany, a multi-day march against coal in Andhra Pradesh, India, and much, much more.  
  • Our actions today aren't just about getting moving in a sustainable way on our bikes and on foot, they are also about demanding our politicians follow our lead in taking action to move beyond fossil fuels and safeguard our future.

Why Now?

  • Between international deadlock and increasingly severe weather, the time has come to lead the charge ourselves towards solutions to climate change.
  • Climate movement is broader than ever before: Scientists, religious leaders, indigenous groups, small business owners, women’s and civil rights groups are all joining the fight.
  • This is the natural reaction to years of inaction on the climate crisis.

We call on our elected leaders to:

  • Stand with climate science and commit to moving away from fossil fuels.
  • Work towards solutions to climate change at all levels of government: from opening new bike lanes to shutting down dirty coal plants worldwide.
  • Join us in embracing a carbon-free future: replace coal plants and oil rigs with wind turbines and solar panels.

What is 350.org?

  • 350.org (“350 dot org”) is a global grassroots, volunteer-led, climate campaign working towards just, science-based solutions to climate change.

What does 350.org do?

  • 350.org specializes in mass mobilizations and grassroots actions.

    What does 350 mean?

    • 350.org is named after the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 350 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas.
    • We’re currently at 392 ppm: ‘350’ symbolizes the need for immediate drastic action to reduce our carbon emissions.

Make sure to develop your own talking points, as well. Your personal story of why you're getting involved in Moving Planet is often the best thing to share with the media. Remember, think creatively, be honest, and do enough practice so that you feel comfortable talking with the media.

The 3 Steps to Great Media Coverage for Your Moving Planet event:

Getting media coverage can be intimidating, that's why we've boiled it down to just three simple steps. If you're interested in more information, check out our in-depth media workshop on workshops.350.org.
 
Here's the quick and easy way to try and get some coverage for your Moving Planet event: 
 
1. Plan a creative event 
The most important thing to getting news is to -- make some news! Think about what would make your campaign and Moving Planet event unique and exciting. We've found that this often makes the event more fun as well - we've all signed petitions and heard speeches before, but have you seen 1,000 people handing out efficient lightbulbs door-to-door or sumo wrestlers riding bicycles through downtown Tokyo? We hope to soon! Check out this list of Moving Planet event ideas for more creative ways to catch the media's eye. 
 
2. Create relationships with the press
Once you've got your story line down, it's time to turn to the care and feeding of your reporter list. A couple of weeks before your event (or if timing is tight, just a few days is fine), give your local newspaper a TV station a call, let them know that you'll be planning an exciting event soon, and ask to connect to the appropriate reporter so you can give them the heads up.
 
Often, with a little research you can find out which reporters are writing about environmental or community news where you live. Just Google your city and town and words like "climate change," or "environment" or "clean energy" and see who is writing or broadcasting the stories. Then, when you call the general number for the outlet, ask for that reporter.
 
When you talk with a reporter, remember to act friendly, give them a short pitch on your story, and tell them you'll keep in touch. 
 
3. Send out your advisory and press release, then follow up
 
  • Once you know the reporters and media you are trying to reach, you're ready to start getting the word out for your event. 
  • 5-10 days in advance of your event, send out your media advisory (click here for a sample) and then follow up your email with a phone call. Diligent (but respectful!) follow-up calls are one of the most important things you can do to get coverage. Try to speak to the reporter directly and write down their contact information so you can get in touch after the event. Click here for a guide and sample script for calling the press.
  • The day before your event or the day of, send out your press release (coming soon). Your release should provide a summary of what is happening at your event, include quotes from your spokespeople, and share what's happening around the world on 24 September. Again, make sure to follow up with reporters to make sure they got your release and don't have any additional questions.
  • If a reporter does end up writing a story that you like, make sure to give them a call or send them an email and thank them. We all like positive feedback -- and a good relationship with a reporter is something to keep! 

To re-cap, here is a sample timeline to guide your press outreach:

  • 1 month before -- community calendars! Now is the time to make sure your event is listed in every community calendar in town: try newspapers, blogs, radio shows, organizational websites, etc.
  • 5-10 days before – send media advisory by email; include info on interesting spokespeople able to do interviews by phone or in-person.
  • 2-4 days before – follow up with a phone call to pitch the story and make sure they received the advisory
  • 1 day before – Re-send advisory, follow up by phone with confirm calls.
  • Day of – confirm they are coming!
  • Next day — send your press release!

That's it! Remember, doing good press outreach is easy, but it's never a guarantee for coverage. Especially as mainstream media outlets struggle to keep in business, they have less time to cover all that's happening in the world. Work hard, but  don't get downhearted if you don't get any good media coverage—there's always next time!

Make Your Own Media

Don't just rely on the mainstream media to tell your story, make your own! Here are three great ways to spread the word about your Moving Planet event: 

1. Blog about it

We've found that a great event blog post is usually 3-4 paragraphs that describe what happened at your event, include some description of how the event felt (maybe a quote from someone who attended), talk about what's next for you and your fellow organizers, and include a picture or a video. If you publish a blog post, make sure to share it with us at: organizers@350.org. 

2. Take a great action photo

Creating a great photograph of your event is very important! A great photo allows you to share your event with the world, helps 350.org tell the story of this global movement, and serves as a visual petition to our world leaders to join us in taking action. Here's a Flickr slide show of some of our favorite photos from the 24 October, 2009 day of climate action (notice that not all of them are big crowds -- sometimes a great photo of a small event can make it have a huge impact): 

Click here for a more extensive guide to taking a great photo and how to submit your photos for Moving Planet.

3. Make a video 

Video is another great way to share your event with the world. Good videos can also help build up excitement for your event, so think about making a before and after video if you have the time. We've found that the best videos are often: 

  • Short: 1-3 minutes 
  • Visually interesting (don't just go for the talking head) 
  • Emotional (convey your excitement, conviction, or anger, just don't be boring!) 
  • Accessible (make sure to get your video up on YouTube or Vimeo where the world can see it) 

Here's the compilation video we made for the 24 October, 2009 day of climate action that featured footage shot by 350 supporters all across the planet: 

Click here for a more extensive guide to making a great video and some good examples.