Social media offers a growing number of venues for showcasing student, staff, school, and district success. And, by producing 60-second news stories, student and parent testimonials, and short-format videos, students develop marketable skills.

Digital media has the added benefit of being easy to share via eMail, encouraging viral marketing of school or district good news.

Make sure the internet and social media are included on student video/photo release forms before posting.

Build relationships with reporters.

Getting to know reporters and editors before they show up at the schoolhouse door during a crisis is always a good idea.

Each reporter has different interests, goals, deadlines, preferences, and quirks. Knowing what those are will help educators reach out more effectively by targeting story pitches to meet reporters’ and news outlets’ needs.

Given the cutbacks in most newsrooms, fewer outlets have dedicated education reporters. This means principals and district communicators will need to build relationships with a number of general assignment reporters, as well as producers and assignment editors.

Get there first.

To get better news coverage, school leaders need to make themselves available during good times—and bad.

Whether cynical by nature, training, or experience, reporters’ radars go up quickly when school officials run for cover during crises or when the news is bad.

One of the keys to getting better news coverage is speaking to reporters and sharing information with the public in transparent fashion.