Developing Your Media List

Man at iPad

Before contacting the media with pitches and press releases, nonprofits should do their research and learn which reporters cover stories that are similar to their own. These reporters and journalists are the people with whom nonprofits can more successfully ally. Nonprofits should also continue to send tips and press releases to those reporters who have established a working relationship with the organization.

Creating a media list is a good way for nonprofits to decide which reporters, journalists and publications to contact. A media list typically includes a broad range of media contacts, and organizations can narrow their focus after creating this list, based on the contents of the pitch or press release.

As a general rule of thumb, media lists should include the name of the media outlet, a contact name and title, phone number, fax number and email address. It can also be useful to collect additional information, including websites, the types of stories the outlet or reporter typically covers and a cell phone number, if possible.

When collecting media outlets to approach, consider:

  • all major newspapers in the surrounding area;
  • weeklies;
  • community newsletters and calendars;
  • state and local specialty publications and magazines;
  • television and radio stations;
  • blogs;
  • colleges and universities; and
  • other nonprofits.

The Minnesota Department of Health publishes a Diverse Media Directory that is free for public use. 

Once a nonprofit has created a media list, it should be updated as often as possible. This can be an intensive process that involves contacting all media on the list and confirming their information.