Sharing your sarcoma story with the papers can feel intimidating, but it’s a great way to raise awareness or encourage donations.
Publishing your story is easier than you think. We’ve divided our guidance into small sections. You can use this guidance to develop your story and reach the right people.
More people often read local newspapers than national dailies. They also usually have a more interactive and local readership. If your story gets good pick up in local press it can sometimes be sold on to national press. So, a good place to start when you want to talk about your experience with sarcoma is often with your local journalists.
You can find the contact details for most local papers in their physical copies and on their websites.
When planning your story for the paper, keep these three points in mind:
- What do I want to achieve – eg raising awareness / advertising my fundraising event
- What is my key message – eg “sarcoma research needs more funding”, “don’t be afraid to go to the doctor”
- How much am I comfortable sharing / the people involved in my story
Once you have these key points in mind you can start to build your story. When doing this it’s important to answer the following questions.
Who – who are the key players – just you, your family, your partner, your nurses etc. Also, who does your news affect?
What – What is happening now? What is new? e.g. fundraising event, new accomplishments post treatment
When – When did this all happen and when did the story start?
Where – Where is this happening? e.g. In your town, city, specific location
Why – Why are you talking about this and why now? What is your goal? What action do you want to see from others?
Communicating your story
If you want to write a press release, we recommend you follow the tips above and keep your story under 400 words.
Adding a short and informative title will help your release stand out. Remember, this is just to get your story out there – journalists who are interested will often contact you for more details.
If you don’t want to write your story, you can make bullet points with answers to the questions above. These can help when talking to journalists or being interviewed.
Once you have your press release ready, it’s time to start sending it out. You can find the contact details of most publications on their website. The email address for news desk is usually a group email that many reporters can access stories from. This will usually be clearly marked in the ‘Contact Us’ section of their site.
Build a list of email addresses to send your press release too. A few from your local area will be enough, aim for between 5 – 10. Once you’re ready, send your press release in an email. Include any notes for the editors and your contact information at the end of the email. Keep all addresses in the BCC section.
You can also call news desks or journalists to tell them about your story. Their contact details are usually in the same place. However, as they are normally busy and may prefer to see something written down. If that’s the situation, send them a few bullet points about the points mentioned. Also, let them know you’re available for an interview.
When to send your release
When you send your release matters. If you are using it to advertise a certain event, send it no more than 5 working days in advance. This keeps things fresh and current whilst still giving the reporters time to work with you.
Thinking about images
It helps if you can send a relevant image or photo along with your press release. When sending a press release about an event that has already happened, it’s helpful to include a clear image of the main people involved. If you’re sending the release before the event, like a race, a picture of you in your running gear is a good way to begin. Make sure the people in the photos being sent are happy for this to happen.
After your press release
I didn’t hear anything…
You can ask papers if they got your release and if they want to talk.
Don’t give up hope. Journalists can cover a story later when there’s room in the paper.
I’ve been contacted by a journalist but I no longer want to continue…
You can calmly tell the person you’re working with that the timing isn’t right anymore. Ask them not to publish the story yet.
If you need help or advice, contact Sarcoma UK’s Communications Team for assistance.
My story is being published…
Great! Well done, please send us an update, we’d love to hear about it.
My story has been published and I’m receiving negative feedback…
Sometimes, people write negative comments on public stories. Remember, people can have opinions, but they are not qualified to speak about your situation based on a short article. You should feel reassured that by sharing your story, you will have helped raise awareness of sarcoma and made a positive impact on your community.
Last reviewed: 30 November 2023 | Next review due: 30 November 2026