When Your Site Is In The Spotlight: Tips for Working with The Media

contacted-by-media-news-camera-Safe-SitterYou get a call from local media about your Safe Sitter® program or life and safety training for teens in general. Great! Don’t worry. Take a deep breath. Here’s your time to shine so try these media tips:

  • The media love stats! Have the most up-to-date numbers for things like how many students and classes you’ve taught. Know the national numbers too. Our Fact Sheet provides information on historical and statistical facts you may need to know.
  • Use the Safe Sitter® name to describe the program you teach rather than saying, “the babysitting class taught at XYZ organization.” Also, remind media that Safe Sitter® is two words, not one.
  • Emphasize that Safe Sitter® teaches life skills and is more than just babysitting. It’s also for youth who are home alone or caring for younger siblings.
  • The names of Safe Sitter® graduates are strictly confidential.  Be sure to make it clear that your Teaching Site adheres to Safe Sitter’s strict “no referral” policy, and the names of graduates are never given out to those seeking a babysitter nor are they listed on Safe Sitter, Inc.’s website.
  • Quotes and pictures bring a story to life—use them! Most importantly, consider the safety of students and graduates when choosing which quotes or visuals to use. Be sure your students’ personal safety is top priority when releasing any information. You’ll need to get parental permission for photo releases. If you feel there is a risk in including information in a newspaper, consider using first names only.

Maybe you’re not contacted by the media but you want to reach out to them. Consider soliciting the media to:

  • recruit students for your classes. (Download our press release announcing new course dates and customize it with your site’s info.)
  • bring attention to your organization and its programs. (New sites can download our press release announcing the fact that they are now are a Registered Safe Sitter® Teaching Site. Older sites can use the same release, tweak the language, and remind their community that they offer Safe Sitter®.)
  • focus on a graduate who’s a hero or a student who has an interesting story.
  • position yourself as an expert on home alone, sibling sitting, and babysitting safety.

During your interview:

Feel free to refer the reporter to Safe Sitter® National Headquarters for questions you do not feel comfortable answering. You are not responsible for dealing with sensitive or controversial issues. Just say, “I don’t know the answer to that question.”

After your interview:

  • Provide feedback to the reporter. Reporters tend to get a lot more negative responses than positive ones. They’ll appreciate hearing from you and this may help them choose to do another story on your organization or your Safe Sitter® program in the future.
  • Email a link of your interview or article to us. We love to see them. We may even share it on our Facebook page.

Dealing with the media can be nerve-wracking, especially if you weren’t expecting it. However, look forward to opportunities to communicate, and don’t allow yourself to dread them. These are opportunities to tell your story!

Jennifer Seward

Jennifer Seward

Jennifer has an M.A. in English and years of nonprofit experience. As a writer and former newspaper reporter, she gravitated toward the nonprofit world because she enjoys the vast and inspiring storytelling opportunities found there.
Jennifer Seward