Teamster Home > Communications > Local Union Media Guide
Department Services
About our Publications
Teamster Magazine Back Issues
Teamster Leader Back Issues
Press Releases
Media Kit
Press Contact Info
Assistance to Local Unions
Suggested Reading
Subscribe to the Teamster eDispatch
Unsubscribe from the Teamster eDispatch

Working With the Media

Plan Ahead

Put someone in charge. Whether you are planning an intensive publicity campaign or getting coverage for a single event or program, you must plan ahead to be successful. You may want to create a Communications Committee to coordinate publicity for your local union.

Plan how you will describe the issues. It is important to talk about the issues in a way that resonates with the local citizens. Make a connection between your cause and the welfare of the people whose support you want. For example, you can demonstrate how a good union contract will help keep wages in other community businesses at a good level.

Plan to let Teamsters members do the talking. One of the biggest pitfalls for any union is to appear to be just another large institution that cares more about its own growth than the welfare of its members. A good way to solve this is by highlighting your members in the media. Members will give the stories a human-interest angle.

Create News

Take advantage of breaking stories. When you hear about a news item of concern to the Teamsters, contact the media immediately and offer the union's comment.

Create an event. A rally or press conference is an effective way to create news. It gives reporters something to cover.

Help Reporters Do Their Job

Get to know the reporters who cover your local. Reporters are workers too. How much coverage you get depends on how easy it is for reporters to cover the story. Invite your local reporters over to meet some of your members and officers. Show them that the union is a group effort of local people with legitimate concerns about improving their jobs.

Provide reporters with the tools to do their job. Reporters generally need three things:

  1. Ideas for story angles: Why should they cover this? Why is it newsworthy?

  2. Facts: Don't make the reporters do anymore work than is necessary. Give them background sheets, talking points, or any other non-confidential documents that help to substantiate the story.

  3. Quotes: A colorful quote can help a story get more space or air time. Think of brief, quotable ways to express your themes.

Send out news releases. One organized way to help reporters is with a news release full of quotes, facts, and background on your issue. It is particularly helpful when there are many reporters who need to receive your information at the same time.

Use Free Space and Air Time

Community Calendars. Most newspapers have a community calendar of some sort. Listing your event is this calendar is an easy way to inform a lot of people.

Talk shows. With the increased listenership of AM radio, there are more talk shows on more stations than ever. Find out if your local radio stations have a news-oriented talk show to appear on.

Public service time. Television and radio stations are required by law to provide air time for the discussion of important public issues and for public service messages. How they meet this requirement is up to them. Find out who is in charge of public service programming at the local television station and meet with them to learn the guidelines getting your message on the air.

Cable access television. Cable television providers have to provide the citizens access to their channels. As part of a cable provider's local franchise contract, they have to maintain a studio and train the public on the use of it. The public can then air programming on whatever topics they wish. This is a very good tool to get some free air time for you local.

Paying for Publicity

Purchasing advertising is an especially good idea when:

  • The group you need to communicate with is too big to reach directly.

  • Management or other opponents of the union are getting good coverage or are purchasing ads that must be counteracted.

The members or workers you are trying to organize need the psychological boost that the high visibility of advertising can bring.

The ads would not only further your short-term goals, but also improve the Teamsters' image among workers' families and the public.

General questions and media requests:
Teamster Magazine letters and story submissions:


Home | About the Teamsters | President Hoffa  
Secretary-Treasurer Keegel
| Teamster Store
 Search | Join the Teamsters  

©1997-2005 The International Brotherhood of Teamsters