Over the past one month, we've been working with community members from
Assamese, Kannada Malayalam and Nepali communities to get maximum possible
media coverage and press support in order to highlight their community and
events and hopefully get new editors for our movement.
In all cases, I help prepare the press
kn, ml, ne), then community members translate it and then we work
together to try and reach out to the widest possible audience.
Here are a few links to the press releases and newspaper articles. There
are a few in local language papers that are not online. Also, all these
reports are due to the collaborative effort and very important follow up by
community members like Jyoti, Bishnu, Gitartha, Omshivaprakash, Anoop,
Ramesh, Kannan, Sujith, Saroj and Ganesh for the communities respectively.
Radio Sagarmatha broadcasted an interview with a Wikipedian Ganesh
Radio Nepal Bani Broadcasted an interview with Wikipedians located in
Kathmandu (Mr. Ganesh Paudel and Mr. Saroj Dhakal)
Just thought I'd share a few pointers based on what went right and what
could have been better on my part. This may help you in the future if you
too are looking to get media attention for your community and events.
A few lessons:
- Database of contacts: We have put in place a fairly comprehensive
database of English as well as local press, television and radio contacts.
I'd be happy to share them with anyone who needs to get in touch with
- In case of local language newspapers, calling a journalist/newspaper
office or personally visiting them to give the press brief always works
better than e-mailing. Most local language newspapers still prefer a hard
copy of the brief or even ask for a fax sometimes.
- For the Assamese anniversary celebrations, we had an agenda well in
advance and we (the community members and I) made sure the press release
was ready in English as well as in Assamese so we could send it out to
newspapers, television channels and radio stations.
- Regarding English language newspapers, it is always advisable to call
first and then e-mail the brief to a senior editor as well as a staff
reporter (at least two people within the organization) to ensure the story
receives due attention. Attaching a few photographs of your past meetups is
a good idea.
- It is advisable to translate the press release and attach both
versions while sending it to the journalist.
- If you are planning to have an event on the weekend, make sure you
call and e-mail much earlier during the week.
- Always make sure to invite the journalists to your event. This will
not only help in getting a comprehensive story but will also encourage them
to take up editing.
- Dealing with news channels and radio stations: While DY 365 channel
covered the Assamese meetup, other channels did not bother to follow up.
For radio, it *only* works if you speak to them in local language.
- It is a *must* to put in a contact number of preferably an email ID at
the end of a press release. Maybe all communities should have either a
chapter email ID (like bengali(a)wikimedia.in) or a gmail ID run by an
active community member. This can be super useful and will avoid giving out
- Building a quote pool: How about we keep a few quotes from different
community members on the basics - (examples: why I edit, how I edit, what
is your message to fellow Marathi/Tamil/Gujarati speakers) ? Of course,
quotes from people are crucial and must not be misused but, this can help
the Chapter communications team too
- Getting the article right: Spelling mistakes, misquoted information,
erroneous figures are a common problem with Wikipedia stories. Although it
may not always be possible, do request the journalist to show you the
article before publishing it.
- Targeting news agencies: After the Assamese press experience, I
realized having one PTI press release ensures that the story reaches at
least 4-5 newspapers. This is a very effective way of maximizing media
I might have missed out on a few lessons and invite community members and
the chapter communication team to contribute with more inputs. Maybe we can
even document this on Meta for future reference.