Section 2: Building Media Relations
Types of News Media
Organization Communication
Building Blocks
Guidelines for Media Interviews
Press Releases
Editors' Advisories
Public Service Announcements
Press Conferences
Editorial Board
Internet Strategies
Talk Shows
Developing A Media Plan

Link to A Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims
Link to Crime Victim Outreach Tip Sheets
Victim Media Advocacy:
How to Build Positive Relations With the News Media

Developing A Media Plan


a. Goals of a Media Plan
b. Audience and Message
c. Medium
d. Key Activities
e. Resources

Developing a Media Plan30 30. Anne Seymour and Linda Lowrance, 1990, Media Relations, Washington, DC: National Center for Victims of Crime (formerly known as National Victim Center), (adapted in part with permission).

An older couple reviewing documents with a younger woman (staged with professional models). One of the greatest assets of a victim assistance organization is a media plan. A well-developed plan that is executed and evaluated on a continual basis can have a positive effect on all aspects of an organization, and can positively affect—


A good media plan requires a strong organization to make it happen. Victim assistance organizations or departments must be clear about who they are and what they seek to do before they can reach out to the public, which requires a strong foundation that clearly articulates a vision, mission, values, goals, and measurable objectives. OVC has published a “Strategic Planning Toolkit” that helps organizations develop guiding statements and promote structure that is based upon measurable successes. The Toolkit can be accessed at

a. Goals of a Media Plan

Graphical representation of a list of goals numbered 1 through 3.The overall goals of a media plan guide its implementation. Goals should be clearly written and be measurable to ensure their achievement. They should focus on establishing primary audiences, messages, and the most important media to carry the message to the audiences. Goals should also determine key activities or events that merit public outreach and the resources needed to successfully achieve the plan.

Most media plans are developed on a 1- or 2-year basis, with periodic evaluations and necessary revisions every 6 months.

b. Audience and Message

Victims and survivors of crime are perhaps the most important audience for victim assistance organizations. However, it’s important to recognize that virtually everyone is at risk of being affected by crime, and many people have family members and friends who have been victimized.

Red and white target with an arrow in the bullseye.Media plans that target “the general public” cannot be truly effective. This is not only too broad, it’s a goal that is usually impossible to fulfill.

Your audience may vary based upon issues and events you are promoting and the messages you seek to send. In developing a media plan, it helps to link target audiences to messages. For example, awareness of—

c. Medium

Print and broadcast media are usually the prime dissemination vehicles within a media plan. Geographic considerations will also determine the most effective media: is the jurisdiction at the national, state, county, city, or smaller community level?  It’s fairly simple to match geographic boundaries with the reach of various media by visiting their Web sites to determine the outreach scope of the publication or station.

The audience and message can help narrow down the field to media that are most effective for public outreach. Many media Web sites offer demographic information about their readers, listeners, and viewers that can help victim advocates focus on target audiences for specific messages. This can also include programming and publications that target—

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d. Key Activities

A media plan must include an annual calendar with key activities weighted in order of their priority for public outreach. Usually, two to four major events a year can help keep an organization in the public eye. These can include—

Adobe PDF available of list aboveClick here for printable pdf of list above.

Many public awareness efforts occur in conjunction with key national observances that commemorate different victimization issues:

Public awareness resource guides that contain sample strategies and documents to enhance victim outreach and public awareness are available for many commemorative observances.

A good media plan should also consider promoting awareness linked to seasonal activities in which the community is already engaged. For example:




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e. Resources

The media will look to a victim assistance organization as a reliable source not only for news stories but also as a resource for their audiences to tap if victim assistance is ever needed. There are five essential resources needed to effectively implement a media plan. These resources should be relevant to and easily understood by all target audiences identified in the media plan.

Red metal toolbox open to show a variety of tools.Efforts should be made to provide these resources in the various languages spoken by members of a community, and to have representatives who are culturally diverse.

In addition, specific strategies to seek media coverage are included in the “Tools of the Trade” section of this guide.

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Media Planning for Crises31 31. Ibid., 23.

Organizations seldom expect a crisis to happen and often fail to plan for one. Even a crisis-free organizational history does not preclude the possibility that something bad can happen.

Crises can involve an entire organization, members of its staff, or even volunteers. When the media get involved, something that appears insignificant can become a full-blown crisis that may affect the very integrity of any organization.

Good recordkeeping is a standard “best practice” for organizations and, in times of crisis, critically important for documentation. In addition to fiduciary and personnel records, it helps to adopt a policy for all staff that encourages—

A big part of being prepared for a crisis involves routine procedures:

When dealing with the media in times of crisis, here are some general rules to follow:

Adobe PDF available of list aboveClick here for printable pdf of list above.

When a crisis occurs, it will seem like the worst possible thing that could happen to an organization. By following these guidelines and approaching the crisis with confidence and honesty, even the most significant hurdles can be overcome.


30. Anne Seymour and Linda Lowrance, 1990, Media Relations, Washington, DC: National Center for Victims of Crime (formerly known as National Victim Center), (adapted in part).

31. Ibid., 23.

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