We often complain about the way the media portrays the Church, but we may not do much to correct those misconceptions. The ‘bad news’ stories will always appear, but it’s up to us to provide ‘good news’ stories about our church. When was the last time your church told the local newspaper, radio station or TV station about something interesting happening in your church community? Sometimes we do try to publicise our events, but without much response. This may be due to a misunderstanding about what actually constitutes ‘news’ – why, for instance, should the media be interested in your coffee morning if every other church seems to be having one?
In fact, our local media is much more interested in stories about people, rather than stories about events. Your church should be full of interesting people with stories to tell. Why not try telling the media about those people rather than telling them about your latest fund-raising event or music concert?
Or – and here’s the clever bit – could you publicise your event by focussing on the people behind them? Could you get something into the local paper about your flower festival by focussing on the person who has organised that event for the past 40 years? That should guarantee more column inches. And why not make the reporter’s job easier for them by e-mailing them good quality, close-up digital photos of those involved? And, if it’s a daily paper, why not do it several days before the event, so they can look forward to it? Something that happened last week is ancient history in the fast-moving media world.
Consider this example from , the local newspaper in Portsmouth. Both the text and the photos from this church-run youth event were e-mailed to the media immediately. This was the result: