Preparing an Editorial Board Presentation
Many newspapers have regular editorial board meetings in which various individuals or groups can offer presentations. You can call to ask for a slot on the schedule or for another opportunity to have input with the editorial staff. It is the executive and editorial-page editors who make policy for the newspaper, while assignment and copy editors work with line-level reporters. Depending on the issue or concern, you may want to have input with one group or both.
Here are some tips on how to best approach this important media audience:
- Lead with the positive. Open your presentation with a list of good things the newspaper has done. Not only do you want to avoid a confrontational tone; honoring their work demonstrates that you pay attention to their coverage.
- Short and sweet. No more than two presenters. Determine the three main points you want to make and make them quickly. Editors and reporters love to ask questions, so limit the time you talk to them to 10 to 15 minutes and encourage them to ask questions during and following the presentation.
- Include a victim. Newspapers are in business to tell first-person stories. The editorial board members will want to hear from a victim and will want to ask questions of him or her.
- Bring handouts and contact information. You cannot cover all that you would like to in such a short time, but you can bring leave-behind materials that can serve as a continuing resource. 29 29. Bonnie Bucqueroux, 2007, “Preparing an Editorial Board Presentation,” Lansing, MI: Victims and the Media Program, Michigan State University.