Media Contacts

A media contact list is a compilation of the names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of contacts at media outlets. This list will become your “go-to” contact database to use when you want to get a story in print or on the air. Your media contact list is a work in progress. It will be comprised of contacts from a current directory in addition to personal contacts with whom you have worked.

If you need a media distribution list to get started with your chapter's media campaigns, email to reach your Regional Director. However, keep in mind that you will hone, edit, and add to this list over time as you make and build media connections in your region.  You will likely need to add information for your campus newspaper to this starter list immediately.

For each contact, have at least the following information:

  • Name
  • Affiliation
  • Office address
  • Phone number
  • Email address

As you get to know your list, you'll determine which contacts are most interested in your chapter and collect additional information about them.  Knowing their weekly and daily deadlines, for instance, will be a huge help in determining which contacts to target at any given time.

List Maintenance 

Overtime, your contact list will continue to expand effortlessly, and provide your chapter with even more sources of exposure. Compile your list in an Excel spreadsheet to keep it organized, versatile, and easy to update or transfer.

If possible, try to start building relations with your local media even if you have not worked with them yet. This way the contact will be more familiar with your chapter and the overall mission for future work or references.

Once you have your initial media contact list set up, narrow in on local sources to find out which editors, producers, or writers will be interested most in your chapter’s mission. You can send a letter or email to these contacts for the sole purpose of introducing yourself and briefly telling them about YAL on your campus. At the end of your email or letter, try to set up a face-to-fact meeting with the contact.

Building Relations with Local Newspapers

Most weekly local newspapers do not use a wire service, nor do they dedicate much space to national or international news. Instead, they depend heavily on local news to fill their pages. Since these papers do rely so heavily on local news, you will stand a better chance of getting your press release in print.

Since local papers do not run on a large staff, it is important that your press release is sent to them in an accurate state and on time. Get your press release to your local weekly paper up to a week ahead of other outlets you work with in order to meet similar publication times.


Every time you get media coverage, send a letter of appreciate to the reporter or editor who used your material. Flattery will get you far with the media when it comes to building a strong relationship.

This thank you letter should set out to thank the person for taking time to write about your chapter of YAL, while also briefly mentioning one or two upcoming events or stories that may be right for the publication. Make sure the letter is brief and provides a sincere thank you. From now on the reporter will think of you as being pleasant to work with, and will be willing to work with your chapter more in the future.