Media Outreach Toolkit

Your successes and the strengths that adult basic education bring to individuals, families and communities is easily overlooked by the news media and elected officials. To help you be your program’s best advocate, COABE has assembled the following Media Outreach Toolkit. These tools and templates are designed to make it easier for you to to offer story ideas, submit “op-ed” opinion pieces, and garner editorial and columnist support. This COABE Media Outreach Toolkit will help you showcase students, staff and programs to to help policymakers and the public understand the value that you deliver every day.

 The COABE Media Outreach toolkit includes: 

1. Meeting with editorial boards and columnists–Newspaper editorial boards and columnists can write important opinion pieces validating your need for additional funds to maintain, strengthen or increase access to services. They can also highlight a compelling story about the difference you make in individuals lives. It may be easier than you think to set up this meeting. Ask for an ed board meeting or invite a columnist to coffee or to visit a class so you can build a relationship.

2. Writing and submitting an op-ed–Newspapers often want to give a voice to their community. Op-eds–so called because they traditionally appeared opposite the editorial page–are powerful tools for bringing attention to Adult Basic Education programs or challenges in your city, state, or region.

One national example, which was timed to coincide with COABE’s Spring 2016 Congressional Day, is an op-ed from COABE president Tom Nash which we placed in The Hill, one of the daily and online newspapers that reaches all senators, members of congress and Capitol Hill staff. You can read it at: http://www.coabe.org/oped-in-the-hill/

3. Pitching a story profiling students, teachers, or administrators to local media–It’s a good idea from time to time to let policymakers, funders and the public in your area know what great work you’re doing, and either directly or indirectly seek support.

One of the best ways to do that is by sharing success stories of students, teachers, administrators and programs–as many of you already do. Captivating individual stories are often the best way for the media to give readers or viewers a compelling or emotional connection to the importance of any type of program–including Adult Basic Education.

4. Writing a press release to share updates about your programs–Press releases allow you to share information about potentially newsworthy developments in your programs like new partnerships, new classes being offered, moving locations or expanding, and much more. Some online outlets and some smaller newspapers may even publish them in whole or part–no complaints if they want to use your words!

5. WIOA Fact Sheet–The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act impacts many COABE members’ programs. This fact sheet can be a helpful resource to educate reporters, elected officials, or others.

6. Program Fact Sheet–Use this template to make a fact sheet about your own programs, or to check the content of brochures and material you may already have. You can send it or bring fact sheets to meetings with reporters or elected officials.

We hope this toolkit helps you share your success and advocate for your programs and students. And feel free to share your successes–the stories that are written by and about you–with us–send them to info@COABE.com