Public awareness of blood cancers is surprisingly low but one way that we can help to raise it is by getting as much coverage about blood cancer in the media as we possibly we can. The opportunity to interview a patient or someone affected by blood cancer can often make the difference between whether a journalist will decide to cover a story or not.
The Bloodwise press office gets a number of requests from local and national media requesting interviews with patients about their experiences. These can range from a short chat on the phone to get a quote, to a longer interview for a magazine or newspaper feature, to a radio or even TV interview. Here's a clip of George Norton doing us all proud on the BBC News at Ten:
How to get involved
We need as many Ambassadors on file to be able to call upon to ask when a press request comes in. Often media asks can be quite specific so to enable us to get back to journalists with the best possible fit we've put together a form with a few questions which we’d really appreciate you filling in.
To get a copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I or my colleague, Steph, will send one over to you.
Once we have your case study on file we'll then be in touch as and when requests come in which we feel might be appropriate and of interest. We’ll never pass your details on to a journalist without speaking to you first and if an interview is inconvenient or if you don’t feel confident or comfortable doing it, you are under absolutely no obligation to accept.
A bit about the media....
Journalists will never expect you to be a medical expert; they will just want to ask you about your experience of blood cancer.
Journalists often work to very tight deadlines and may want to speak to you on the same day, sometimes within a few hours of getting in touch with us. For example, if a big story about a new treatment for blood cancer is in the morning papers, a radio station may call us up and ask to speak to a patient ambassador for their lunchtime news programme the same day.
It’s helpful to give us a phone number and/or email address that you normally keep an eye on during the day, so that we can get in touch at short notice. If you have a preferred method of contact for any potential media interviews, let us know – e.g. calling your mobile, texting, personal email, work email, etc. If you think you’ll be unlikely to be able to get back us quickly during the day, perhaps because of the nature of your job, just tell us so that we know not to inconvenience you.
If you’re interviewed for a newspaper or magazine feature on blood cancer, there may be a long period between the interview taking place and it actually going to print. We’ll make sure we keep you updated on when it will come out, so that you can get a copy of the article.
Occasionally interviews do not go ahead
Occasionally a journalist will get in touch asking to speak to a patient, we’ll speak to you and then the journalist will tell us that they no longer need to speak to you. It may happen for a number of reasons – journalists on short deadlines often contact lots of organisations to ask if they can speak to someone. They then either go for the first person who gets back to them (or the patient who happens to live 10 minutes from the TV studio!) The whole story may also be dropped at the last minute if a major event happens. This can sometimes be a bit frustrating, but please don’t take it personally.
Overall we hope that you will find sharing your story to be an interesting and rewarding experience. It really does have a huge impact on our ability to raise awareness of the work we do. We really couldn’t get our name out there without your help.
If you have any questions, please give Steph or me a call in the Bloodwise Press Office on 0207 269 9019 or email email@example.com (We all pick up that email, so you can guarantee that someone will always be around to reply to you).