The Diocese of London works with the communications agency Luther Pendragon to provide media support to parishes. You can reach the media team seven days a week: 020 7618 9106 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
The media team is available to advise parishes on all media queries, whether you have a local story that you would like to promote or need help in dealing with a journalist’s request.
The team also takes all media enquiries on behalf of the Bishop of London, other bishops, archdeacons and diocesan staff.
When to contact the media team
The media team can assist you to manage any potential or current media issues. They can advise you most effectively if they are involved in the situation from an early stage, so you should contact them as early as possible to make them aware of issues in your parish that may attract media interest in the future.
If you receive a call from a journalist, it is always worth talking through a response rather than giving it off the cuff. You should ask the journalist for:
- journalist’s contact details
- the nature of their query
- the deadline that they are writing to
Our media team can respond to them directly. We will only ever issue information about your parish to the press with your agreement, but it can be easier to manage the workload of dealing with a media request if the team is there to co-ordinate a response.
If you are asked for an interview or to participate in any media activity:
Even comfortable media performers should let us know if they are going to appear in the media. This allows the team to collect any coverage as well as giving the opportunity to talk through the content, do some quick refresher media training and talk through any potentially difficult issues that may come up that you might not be aware of.
If there is local activity you would like to publicise, the media team is always happy to advise on the best way to draw attention to news and activity at your local church. The team can provide you with contact details for your local media, help you to draft a press release, issue information to your local media, talk to journalists on your behalf and, if you are going to be interviewed, help you to prepare. More information about publicising local activity can be found below.
Local news in your church, chaplaincy or worshipping community
The media team is always happy to advise on the best way to draw attention to news and activity at your local church. To help with this process we have set out some points on what makes a story newsworthy.
News is about what is current. In simple terms, an event that took place today is more newsworthy than an event that took place last week. It is therefore always best to get in touch well in advance of any events taking place in order to have all press materials drafted before the event takes place.
A good measure of how significant a story is is how many people are affected by it. The more people affected by a development in your local area, the more newsworthy it is likely to be.
3. Accompanied by a strong image
Most media engagement at a parish level will involve local press, which tends to be very image-led. It’s therefore always worth bearing in mind whether a story lends itself to a good photo opportunity. In some cases, a strong image-led news item can trump the issue of timeliness.
4. Celebrities/person of interest
The involvement of a celebrity or person of significance (e.g. the local MP, a high profile parishioner or a Diocesan figure like the Bishop of London) at an event adds to its newsworthiness.
5. Human interest
A human interest story is a feature on a person (or people) that appeals to the reader’s emotions or intrigue. These features are less bound by the above guidelines as they rely more on the strength of an individual’s personal story. Some local events and activity are particularly interesting to the local press, such as:
- Imaginative fundraising activities
- A new charitable initiative to benefit the local community
- A celebration of a milestone in parish history
- An event attended by local dignitaries or celebrities
- The opening of a new building or facility
If you have a routine local event like a fair or carol service, you can add it to the Diocese’s events listings to make sure that people are aware that it is happening.
Working with the media team
The media team can work with you to inform local media and draft a release about a local announcement, event or piece of news. Some useful information to have ready for when you speak to the media team includes:
- What will be happening? What is the goal?
- How many people do you expect to attend/to be involved?
- Will any charities or local dignitaries be attending or involved?
- Are there any initiatives, fund raising efforts or other activity at the church that the release could also highlight?
- What historical background to the parish or church could the release highlight?
Providing a photograph can be very important for getting into a story into the local press, as well as for the Diocese of London news page. It is great if you can get a professional photographer to attend, but anyone with a digital camera can take a suitable picture to illustrate a news story if they follow these pointers:
- Set your camera to a high resolution setting (photos should be 2-4MB for print)
- If you are photographing at an event, try to get at least a couple of groups shots of the key attendees with the key people from your parish.
If you are taking pictures of children or vulnerable adults, make sure you have permission for the pictures to be used for by the press or on the diocesan news page. This should either be explicit, recorded permission from parents or guardians, or in accordance with your church’s safeguarding policy.
Photos should be sent to the media team to be issued with the press release as soon as possible after the event. Ideally they would be issued the morning after. The media team are always happy to talk through any issues and give ideas for publicising local activity, so don’t hesitate to contact them to get their advice on 020 7618 9106 or email@example.com.