We all know that engagement with local media outlets is a critical component of our outreach efforts.
With this in mind, I wanted to share a ‘real life’ example of how this can directly impact what we do.
Yesterday, our team conducted the first of our standing monthly REVIVE! trainings in the New River Valley. Thanks to a partnership with our regional office of the Virginia Department of Health, we are now providing trainings on the third Friday of each month, rotating those among the five jurisdictions served by both of our agencies.
Friday’s training was in the Town of Floyd, which is arguably the most isolated community we serve in terms of geography. We wound up with 12 people in yesterday’s class (after only having four sign up via the DBHDS provided link). One gentleman in particular expressed his appreciation for the training upon arriving. He went on to say that he had just completed an overnight shift at work when he happened to see the training promoted on the local morning news.
The day before had been an incredibly busy day for me – one filled with meetings. In between, I had been contacted via phone, email, and even Facebook message, by a reporter with WSLS 10 (Roanoke’s NBC affiliate). Eventually, we were able to talk and found a mutually agreeable time for a phone interview, which was recorded and used for a quick story that ran during the 11:00 p.m. newscast Thursday night, and then shared several times during the station’s morning program on Friday (as well as their Facebook page).
After the training, the gentleman who had seen the spot on the news shared that he “hadn’t heard much” about Narcan or naloxone but that he had seen enough issues with co-workers and customers that he was glad he now had something to “help other people if they need it.” He also indicated he was going to recommend the training to others and that he plans to attend our “community conversation” event in Floyd on March 28.
All of this came from a five-minute phone call with the WSLS reporter on Thursday afternoon. (Here’s a link to the story that aired.) And, what’s more, it didn’t cost us a dime.
I encourage you to take time building your relationships with local media. Sure, their requests and schedules don’t always fit what is convenient for us, but they can be an effective component of our efforts to improve the overall well-being of our communities.