Working with the press

Communicating with the media is a key part of church life and community leaders should strive to build positive working relationships with reporters from local newspapers, radio and TV stations that operate within their area.

Local reporters are always looking for good stories that will appeal to their audiences and your local news outlet might be interested in your story, so reach out and share your news - churches are a rich source of great news because they have a wide and positive impact on the local community. Crucially, sharing our stories with the local media can be a fantastic opportunity to share the Good News well beyond our congregations. Contact the Communications Team if you’re interested in sharing a good news story with your local media and we’d be happy to advise.

Difficult press enquiries

Enquiries that are difficult might range from arguments about graveyards to high profile deaths or issues around safeguarding. Following these tips will help you manage an unexpected call.

Our top tips

  • There is no such thing as ‘off the record’. Anything you say could be reported, so always be polite and courteous. It’s acceptable not to provide a comment immediately and instead tell the journalist that you will get back to them – this will give you time to consider next steps or seek advice. Our experienced Communications Team is available to help you, so do feel free to contact us. Ask the reporter what their deadline is and be sure to respond before the deadline if the question is something you can answer easily.
  • Journalists can be persistent – their job is to get the full story and answer the questions their audience would ask – like “what does the Vicar think?” But if it is an inconvenient time to talk to a journalist because you are dealing with parish matters, simply be honest and say so.
  • Stories involving the police should always be referred to the Communications Team before you commit to speaking with a journalist, for legal and safeguarding
  • reasons. These circumstances are thankfully very rare, but if an issue like this ever arises in your parish, direct the reporter to the diocesan Communications Team for a response. Please also inform your archdeacon if they are not already aware.
  • While it’s important to be friendly, it’s also important to be factual and to the point. Whether you’re being interviewed or helping the journalist with information to support their story, never speculate!
  • Never say ‘no comment’. Either refer the journalist to us or, if it’s an interview, say confidently “that’s not something I can answer… but what I can say is this…”
  • Finally – if in doubt give the Communications Team a ring - that’s what we are here for!

Contact the Communications Team

Get in touch

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