20/20 #18 — Tell your mother: Publicizing your story

Sources and subjects

People like to read about themselves. The subject of the story includes not only the person the story is about, but also anyone who is mentioned in the story. Even if sources are not mentioned by name, they are probably interested in the story’s topic — that’s why you went to them for information.

You may think that the state representative or school board member you interviewed doesn’t care whether they were named in the story. Wrong! Every politician cares about every single mention of his or her name in the media. Every PR person wants to know that THEIR press release resulted in an actual story. (That’s called “earned media.”) Every non-profit agency wants to tell their funders that their program made it into the news.

Other media

Check the copyright rules of the publication you write for. When you write for the TC Daily Planet, you grant permission for media partners to republish your story. Other than that permission, you own copyright to your story. You can send your story to any other publications that might be interested.

When you write for the Star Tribune or Al Jazeera, they own the copyright, and won’t allow any republication unless they give explicit, written permission.

Example #1: I write an op/ed for Al Jazeera. I cannot give anyone permission to republish it. I can’t even republish it on my own blog.

Example #2: I write a story for Minnesota Women’s Press. They are a media partner, so the Daily Planet can republish the story. Anyone else has to get permission.

Friends and Fans

And this is where telling your mother comes in — isn’t she your biggest fan? Send your story to any friends and family who may be interested. Email the link, post it on your Facebook page, Tweet it out to your followers … do it all and do it right away!


1) Who are three people you could tell about your most recent story?

2) Who are three people you could tell about one of today’s front page stories?

©2008-2014 Mary Turck


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