Engaging with the Media

About this guide

The aim of this guide is to help you get your message across to a wider audience when talking about sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda.

It is essential to see the media, in all its forms, as providing a valuable opportunity to talk about what you do and how important it is. The media can help to convey your messages to a targeted or simply wider audience, and to help hold decision-makers and governments to account.

In order for this to happen you also need to understand why journalists and media outlets behave as they do, what they are looking for, and how you can help them find it.

It is about building trust with media practitioners and working together to tell compelling stories to an audience that wants to hear them.


As part of the Sustainable Development 2015 (SD2015) programme, this guide is for anyone who is working in the sustainable development sector and on the post-2015 development agenda: NGOs, CSOs, charities, private sector, governmental organisations or any other stakeholder group that might engage with the media.

The SD2015 programme also provides a separate Advocacy Toolkit, specifically designed to help you develop an advocacy strategy to influence the post-2015 development agenda. This media-focused guide can be used to help target that strategy, develop its messages and engage with media as effectively as possible.


The guide is split into different topics (listed on the left on every page), with tips on how to deal with the media in different situations. You can either work your way through from start to finish, or go directly to the most relevant sections to find practical advice.


The focus of this guide is to help you engage with a non-specialist audience. We will therefore include a jargon-busting section on www.SD2015.org, highlighting words and phrases which might confuse a journalist or an audience not familiar with sustainable development issues.

Some of these specialist words may be very familiar to you, and you may therefore be surprised that they could be confusing. Even the word stakeholder can be off-putting to someone who does not work in this field.

Wherever possible when engaging with media outlets try to use language that a non-specialist will understand. This is particularly important if you are being interviewed for radio, TV or the web. It will help you come across as honest, open and approachable.

THE TOPICS COVEREDmagnifine-glass-150

Click on a topic to jump to the relevant section. Topics marked with podcast-icon-red also have an audio podcast.

  1. What is your message?  podcast-icon-red
  2. Targeting your audience  podcast-icon-red
  3. Understanding journalists
  4. Approaching journalists
  5. Working with journalists  podcast-icon-red
  6. Press releases
  7. Media interviews  podcast-icon-red
  8. Events and press conferences  podcast-icon-red
  9. Photos and photo calls  podcast-icon-red
  10. Editorials and advertorials
  11. Social media  podcast-icon-red
  12. Dealing with a crisis  podcast-icon-red
  13. Jargon-busting  podcast-icon-red

LISTEN TO THE EXPERTSpodcast-icon-red

We have also provided nine podcasts on topics contained in this guide. Each contains tips and advice from experts in journalism and international development.

You can listen to the podcasts on the relevant page. Or you can listen and download the files via SoundCloud.


 There are also PDF versions of the guide for you to download. It is available in four languages:

You can read more about the guides via this link.