Environment Picture

Media matters in the environment

I notice some Associated Press wire service stories get picked up and carried by many newspapers throughout the state. How does that happen? And is there anything we can do to get more environmental stories on the wire service?
 The Associated Press is an international wire service with thousands of media members, including dozens of outlets in Michigan. A stable of writers works for AP from offices in Detroit and Lansing, but with correspondents scattered throughout the state.
AP stories that are carried on the wire service can be reprinted or broadcast by any member media outlet that chooses to run the story. That’s often how smaller news outlets can carry stories from other parts of the state, even when they don’t have staff writers or correspondents covering the story themselves.
There are two ways stories get on the AP “wire,” or roster. Either an AP staff writer pens the story, and it’s sent out for distribution statewide; or the AP decides to grab a story from a member publication and make it available to the rest of the members.
There are ways you can encourage wider distribution of stories through AP, but ultimately, it’s up to them.
If you know a news outlet is carrying a story you’re interested in, ask the reporter or editor to make it available to the AP. Or, call the MEC office and ask us to lobby AP to “pick up” the story from that publication. We have a few contacts there, which don’t guarantee success. But if they know someone’s interested, they’ll at least take a look.
Also, if you know a story is going on AP, call your local paper or station and ask them if they’ll run it. Again, your success rate may be low, but at least you’ve made someone aware that there’s interest in the story.
Timing is key. If you request a story that ran a couple days earlier, it’ll be considered old news. And, of course, you have to be aware of the story in the first place to do this kind of lobbying. But in the long view, the more often reporters and editors hear from us, the more likely they are to give a little extra consideration to environmental news. Got a media relations question? Send it to: hughmec@voyager.net.
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