The Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists (CAABJ) is an affiliate chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), a nonprofit organization focused on establishing strong ties among African-Americans working in the media and expanding and balancing the media's coverage of the African-American community and experience.

April 25, 2007

First 2007 Workshop -- What a Success!

We first want to thank all who came out and participated in CAABJ's 2nd Annual "Accessing the Media" workshop on April 21st, 2007. We believe those who attended not only learned how to better get their events and forums out to the public, but we in the media also learned how we can better service the public as a whole. Below you will find the handouts that were given to those in attendance. The information includes contact information for several members of the media. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them below or e-mail any of the members of the board and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Be on the lookout for more workshops and events from CAABJ in the coming months. Again we thank you.

Secrets to Accessing the Media
Your Guide to getting your stories covered

Six Steps to Generate Coverage

1. Decide what kind of coverage you want.

If you simply want to inform the public about an upcoming event, send out your information to those news organizations that routinely list upcoming events in a community calendar format.

2. Find a News Angle

Make sure what you are pitching has some news value: connect it to an event or issue that is in the news or will make news. It can be as common as a battle over a zoning change or a fundraising drive for a homeless family.
What makes a story “newsworthy?”

a. It’s new, fresh, different or trendy.
b. It’s timely (if you win an important lawsuit, call today, not tomorrow)
c. It’s unusual.
d. It’s able to arouse deep human emotions – love, hate, fear, anger – that people can identify with. (ex. the closing of a long standing neighborhood diner.)
e. It’s of broad interest to consumers, investors and workers.

3. Determine which news outlets to approach, and how to approach them

Most people want coverage by the major papers and network television. Don’t ignore weekly community papers and smaller broadcast radio and television outlets, which are more likely to use your material. Read, watch and study as many local news organizations as you can.

4. Call the appropriate person

If the person is about a certain neighborhood, call a reporter that covers that area. Call the sports editor, not the city editor, for a sports-related story. When pitching an idea to television stations, make sure there is some visual element to your story. Television stations often need news on weekends or holidays; your event has a better chance of coverage if it’s held on a three-day weekend.

5. Watch your timing to ensure your chances of coverage
Select a good time and day for your event. Avoid scheduling the event on a day when some other major event is happening, like an election. Instead, consider scheduling it on a weekend or holiday. Consider scheduling your event in the morning, when reporters have plenty of time to meet a deadline.

6. Be prepared for coverage

Before alerting the media, be prepared to handle reporters. If your event requires a press pass or ticket for admission, have them ready. If you have a speech, make a text of it available to reporters. Have the right spokesperson on hand to answer questions. Make sure someone is available after hours.

The News Release

A news release announces or reports an event that is taking place. It answers the typical media questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. Emphasized the “why;” it can convince a harried editor that your event is worth reporting.

Keep the release as short as possible. Releases for most major events, like fairs or rallies, can be told in one page. Major stories or issues may take more space. If the release is more than one page, just be sure to indicate the total number of pages included on each page.

Calling in advance will help you direct your release to the appropriate person, and will help you tailor your efforts to meet that person’s deadline and just may win you a valuable ally in publicizing your organization’s activities.

Mail, fax or email your release at least two weeks before your event. Follow up that effort with a telephone call to make the release was received. For television and radio, call three days before the event. For newspapers, call a week ahead.

Sample News Release:


Contact: (Name)

(Phone Number)


Area Students to Participate in Show-Me Body Walk
Can you imagine a better way to learn about the importance to good nutrition
and physical fitness for the body than to become a food, get inside and take a
walk around? That’s what children from (elementary school/districts) will be
doing on (day, month and date) from (start time) to (end time).
Children enter the Body Walk exhibit through the mouth, wearing tags
identifying themselves as a food item, such as a hamburger, slice of cheese
or carrot. They are “absorbed” through the intestines and travel through the
bloodstream to the heart, lungs, bones, muscles, skin and brain stations. At
every station, students will be engaged in learning activities checking their
heart rates, building strong bones, and testing flexibility and strength.
Body Walk was coordinated by the Missouri Governor’s Council on Physical
Fitness and Health, in partnership with the American Heart Association, the
American Cancer Society and University of Missouri Outreach and Extension.
Other organizations and corporations provided additional funding and support
for this project.
Ann Cohen, Body Walk Director for the Governor’s Council on Physical
Fitness and Health, said, “School children find this is the most exciting way to
learn about nutrition and health in an action-oriented, hands-on setting.
Everywhere Body Walk visits, children have come away with a better
appreciation of how their bodies work and the choices they need to make to
keep them healthy.”
For more information on Body Walk, contact (coordinator’s name) at

Do's & Don'ts

Some tips for building and keeping good media relations:

DO: Give as much information as possible.
DO: Double check times and addresses, give directions if necessary
DO: Cultivate relationships with reporters and editors in both print and broadcast media.
DO: Always list a contact person and contact telephone number.
DO: Have people on hand to deal with media inquiries during your event
DO: Consider how you can make your event o issues appeal to the masses
DO: Consider yourself a resource. You may be asked to help with issues unrelated to your organization’s events.
DON’T: Exaggerate; you will lose credibility. Let the facts speak for themselves. If you want to state opinions, attribute them to somebody or use direct quotes.
DON’T: Promise something you cannot deliver (listing celebrities if they have not confirmed they will be there.)
DON’T: Badger reporters or editors. If they want to pursue the story, they will call you back.
DON’T: Lie: if you do, you’re certain to destroy a critical link to the coverage you want.
DON’T: Try to spin the story. Good reporters will get both sides of a story and trying to hide something will encourage them to see it out with even more determination
DON’T: Ask a reporter to read a story back to you, or to send you a copy of the story in advance of its date of publication.


The Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists is an affiliate chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, a non-profit organization focused on establishing strong ties among African-Americans working in the media and expanding and balancing the media's coverage of the African-American community and experience.

About NABJ

The National Association of Black Journalists is an association of journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides programs and services to benefit Black journalists worldwide. NABJ is committed to increasing Black employment in the media, to increasing the number of Blacks in management positions, to providing professional development and training for Black journalists, to sensitizing media to the importance of fairness in coverage and fairness in the workplace and to encouraging Black journalists to become entrepreneurs. NABJ also provides informational and training services to the general public.

Media Contact Information

WSOC Charlotte
Assignment Desk
(704) 335-4871
(704) 335-4736

WSOC Whistleblowers
(704) 335-4924
(704) 335-4736

WSOC Action Nine
(704) 335-4738
(704) 335-4736

WSOC Community Cal.
(704) 335-4824
(704) 335-4736

The Shelby Star
Alan Jenkins, Managing Editor
(704) 484-7000 x125
(704) 484-0805

The Shelby Star New Media
Joy Scott
(704) 484-7000 x124
(704) 484-0805

The Gaston Gazette
Kevin Ellis, City Editor
(704) 869-1823

Assignment Desk


Melody Freeman, Producer

Alva Pearson, Associate Producer

Bervette Carree, Producer

The Charlotte Observer
704 358-5040


Fox Charlotte

Charlotte Magazine
Main Line

Creative Loafing
Main Line

Pride Magazine
Main Line

Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists
P.O. Box 31024
Charlotte, NC 28231

April 14, 2007

Get Ready! CAABJ's First Community Event!

The calls have been pouring in from people in the community who want to be a part of this year's Media Access Workshop! We want to make sure CAABJ members are there in full force.

So come on out to the West Boulevard Library on 2157 West Boulevard on Saturday, April 21st. We'll start our day with a brief general body meeting at 11 a.m. After we've handled some housekeeping we will set up for our Media Access Workshop which will begin at noon.

Please be sure to invite a friend, and a new potential member for CAABJ! We've included the invitation below. Pass it around. But remember, get people to R.S.V.P. because space is limited!

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

President : Melody Freeman, WCNC-TV, Inc.,
VP-Print: Lena Warmack, The Charlotte Observer,
Treasurer: Lyndsay Pollard, The Charlotte Observer,
Secretary: Alva Pearson, WCNC-TV, Inc.,
Parliamentarian: Jarvis Holliday, Charlotte Magazine,