Talking about WIC with the Media
The media plays a pivotal role in highlighting and elevating WIC’s work so that your community can better understand and appreciate the program’s contributions. WIC staff should actively promote their achievements through both the traditional media and social media channels.
Local newspapers, including those published on the web only, report on the community and regional events. They want to hear what a local program is doing to improve your town! WIC staff can submit an article for publication or pitch a story to a local reporter. You may wish to reach out to a reporter who has written on public health or similar issues before. It is important to have a story idea ready when you reach out to a reporter.
A reporter may also want to interview you or visit your clinic to get a better sense of the WIC program. Be prepared for an interview and make sure to use the appropriate disclaimer if you don’t want to be quoted (usually by saying that the interview is on background). Highlight stories of actual participants (their personal stories), and keep things simple.
Letters to the Editor/Op-Eds
Newspapers generally will publish letters/emails that are submitted for publication by members of the community. You can find instructions for submission on the newspaper’s opinion page or website.
- Be direct and concise – newspapers will not accept lengthy submissions. You will want to highlight your main point in the first paragraph and be clear about whatever point you are trying to convey.
- Avoid jargon or technical language – many readers may not even know what WIC stands for!
- Highlight stories with personal stakes that will resonate with your audience
Some other media outlets to consider:
- Although so much is digital these days, radio is still alive and well! Consider pitching a story to a local talk radio program, such as one that focuses on public affairs or a public radio show.
- Similar to a live radio show, perhaps there are active podcasters in your community who cover current affairs and things happening in the community.
- Community blogs: Many people get their hyper-local news from community and neighborhood blogs. Find popular blogs in your city, and pitch feature stories about your clinic or agency to them.
Social media is a powerful tool to engage a wide audience, including potential participants and the general public. Always conduct yourself in social media in a professional manner. The two main social media channels are Twitter and Facebook. Twitter limits messages to shorter lengths, and active users post more frequently than other social media channels. Facebook is a bit more sophisticated and can accommodate lengthier posts. Other platforms include Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
You can spread your message even further by tagging other people, organizations, or topics. The @ symbol allows you to tag another user, and then your message will show up on their social media page. The # symbol allows you to join a conversation, so that your post will show up on pages about that topic.
- Proud of @USDA efforts to support science-based standards in the food package!
- Multiple generations of each family learn healthy habits from nutrition education at #WIC.
WIC clinics and agencies should develop social media profiles to elevate their work to a broad audience and connect with potential participants in your area. This may require approval from a higher authority, such as your state agency.