Tips and Timelines for Local Traffic Agencies Hosting
2007 National Traffic Signal Report Card Press Events


Intro: Build the Story—Give the Media What They Need
Exciting action, engaging sound bites, compelling personal stories, connecting to the local community and stimulating visuals make up a good news story. Choreograph your event with these elements in mind.

Assemble a Press Kit
The National Traffic Operations Coalition has supplied key elements of your press kit. Tailor each item for your local media.

Compile a Targeted Media List
Most likely, your existing media contacts will be your most fertile targets. Also consider other media and beat reporters who may be interested in covering the issue.

One Voice
Ensure that all of your spokespersons are attuned to the key messages to be highlighted at the event. Prepare talking points and meet with spokespersons in advance.

Customize Your Pitch
Local media are looking for stories that resonate with their readers/listeners. Personal stories are particularly compelling. Tailor your media alerts and calls to individual beats.

Put Yourself Behind the Camera
To attract television cameras and print photographers, it is essential to construct the event with cameras in mind. From staging to execution of the event, keep in mind that cameras want quality visuals to tell the story.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Send your photo(s) to the state Associated Press and other photo wire services. Include a caption and contact information. Photos can also be used in internal publications.


Event Countdown/Sample Event Timeline

Below is a sample timeline of the types of tasks you should include.

Two Weeks Prior to Your Event

Decide on a location for the press event. We recommend outdoors near a traffic signal.

Order handout materials—such as an oversized copy of report card or brochures.

Send pitch letters/e-mails to media outlets like radio public affairs shows and follow-up with personal phone calls.

Invite local traffic experts, elected officials and other community leaders to participate.

Send guest opinion/editorial pieces to have them published in conjunction with your event or send letters to the editor to local newspapers and follow-up with calls.

Prepare a press release and fact sheet that can be handed out to the media.

Three to Four Days Prior to Your Event

Contact all daybook/community calendar editors to alert them to the event.

Fax/e-mail your media advisory to your media list and make follow-up pitch calls.

Submit your media advisory to a wire service such as PR Newswire or US Newswire.

Compile all media materials in a folder/press kit for the media.

One to Two Days Prior to Your Event

Schedule pre-arranged interviews with interested newspapers and TV and radio stations.

Event Day

Set up all tables and signage early so everything is ready in advance of the event.

Set up refreshments.

Walk through all elements of the event with your team.

Be on the lookout for media at the event and make sure their needs are met.

During the event, take photos or have someone take photos to send to the media.

Immediately Following the Event

Select the best photos of the event and e-mail them to state/local wire services.

Follow-up with media not attending the event and offer to send a media kit and/or provide a spokesperson.

Within a Few Days of the Event

Monitor press coverage of the event and collect clips.

Send thank-you letters to the participants.

Institute of Transportation Engineers

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

Federal Highway Administration

American Public Works Association IMSA Intelligent Transportation Society of America