Communicating with the Media

Communicating with the media is important for the church but very often we fear doing this. So this is a simple guide to working with the media and how you can get help for the good stories and to manage a crisis.

When to contact the Communications Team

The Diocesan Communications Team can help you to manage any potential or current media issues.

We can be the most effective if we are involved in the situation from an early stage, so please contact us as early as possible making us aware of issues in your parish that may attract media interest in the future.

The team can help

  • Advise on how to publicise your events and good news stories often with contacts and support
  • Give support in a crisis and manage the media in difficult times.
  • Advise around the whole of the communications for a church so that all parts of your communication works together effectively.

Contact us at for general advice and training requests

Ring Stuart on 07534218122 for crisis management advice.


Dealing with a call from a journalist

If you receive a call from a journalist, it is always worth thinking through a response rather than giving it off the cuff.

You should ask the journalist for:

  • their contact details and what publication they are representing
  • the nature of their query
  • the deadline that they are writing to

If you need advice on how best to answer the query then our Communications Team can respond to them directly or coordinate a response with you.

If you know there is a crisis in your church then our advice is

  1. If you don’t know who is calling you then let the message go to voicemail – you are then more in control of any conversations. If it is a journalist they will leave a message
  2. Contact the communications team on 07534218122 for help and advice. Very often we will manage this on your behalf – at the very least we will offer support and advice.
  3. If need be ring the journalist and ask for the information as above
  4. Never give a comment on the phone – always make sure you put it in writing.

Typical examples of crisis or when you might need support include

  • A high-profile funeral
  • A scandal or crisis – financial, Safeguarding, or potential criminal activity
  • Issues with the building, heritage or the graveyard


If you are asked for an interview or to participate in any media activity

Even if you are comfortable speaking to journalists and have done activity like this before please let us know if you are going to appear in the media. This allows the team to collect any coverage as well as giving you the opportunity to talk through the content, do some quick refresher media training and talk through any potentially difficult issues that may come up that you might not be aware of.

If there is local activity you would like to publicise, we can help to advise on the best way to draw attention to news and activity at your local church.

We can offer training in talking to the media and carrying out media interviews. Contact with your request.


Local news in your church, chaplaincy or worshipping community

If there is local activity you would like to publicise, we can help to advise on the best way to draw attention to news and activity at your local church.

To help you with this process we have set out some points on what makes a story newsworthy.

1.    Time sensitive

News is about what is current. In simple terms, an event that took place today is more newsworthy than an event that took place last week. It’s always best to get in touch well in advance of any events taking place in order to have all press materials drafted in good time.

2.    Substance

A good measure of how important a story is how many people are affected by it. The more people affected by a development in your local area, the more newsworthy it is likely to be.

3.    Good quality photo/s

Local press is very image-led. Does your story lend itself to a good photo opportunity? A strong image-led news item can higher the changes of getting coverage.

4.    Local celebrities/people of interest

The involvement of local celebrities/people of interest (e.g. the local MP, a high-profile parishioner or a Diocesan figure like the Bishop of Liverpool) at an event adds to its newsworthiness.

5.    Human interest

A human-interest story is a feature on a person that appeals to the reader’s emotions or intrigue. These features are less bound by the above guidelines as they rely more on the strength of an individual’s personal story. Some local events and activity are exciting to the local press, such as

  • Imaginative fundraising activities
  • A new charitable initiative to benefit the local community
  • A celebration of a milestone in parish history
  • An event attended by local dignitaries or celebrities
  • The opening of a new building or facility

If you have a routine local event like a fair or carol service, you can use local channels such as your churches own social media pages or local ‘what’s on’ listings to make sure that people are aware that it is happening.


Working with the communications team

We can work with you to inform local media and draft a release about a local announcement, event or piece of news. Some useful information to have ready for when you speak to us includes:

  • What will be happening? What is the goal?
  • How many people do you expect to attend/to be involved?
  • Will any charities or local dignitaries be attending or involved?
  • Are there any initiatives, fund raising efforts or other activity at the church that the release could also highlight?
  • What historical background to the parish or church could the release highlight?



Providing a photograph can be very important for getting into a story into the local press, as well as for the Diocese of Liverpool news pages. It is great if you can get a professional photographer to attend, but anyone with a digital camera can take a suitable picture to illustrate a news story if they follow these pointers:

  • Set your camera to a high-resolution setting (photos should be 2-4MB for print)
  • If you are photographing at an event, try to get at least a couple of groups shots of the key attendees with the key people from your parish.

If you are taking pictures of children or vulnerable adults, make sure you get written permissions for the pictures to be used for by the press or on the diocesan news page. This should be explicit, recorded permission from parents or guardians in accordance with your church’s safeguarding policy.

Powered by Church Edit