Media Coverage Tips

The following suggestions are for bringing Mathematics Awareness Month to the attention of the general public by using some of your local media outlets. The more you are able to provide a local angle (such as getting a MAM proclamation from your mayor or governor, involving a local high school or college, etc.), the more likely you are to receive local coverage.

Public Information Office

Contact your institution's Public Information Office and ask to have your events included in their various calendar announcements. The PIO is likely to have good contacts with local media and may be able to help you get media coverage. You may also want to discuss the following ideas with your PIO staff.

Newspaper Editorials or Letters to the Editor

Newspapers (especially weekly ones) may run an editorial recognizing MAM if it is signed by a local professor or public policy representative. Restrict the focus to one topic, such as changes in calculus courses in your department, selected research projects at your institution over the last decade, how skills in mathematics can increase career options in all fields, etc. Mention your local events briefly as part of the editorial. Keep it to 300 or so words in length. Letters to the Editor are appropriate when you can respond to a recently published story and mention mathematics and/or MAM as part of the reply. Follow carefully the guidelines for Letters to the Editor provided by your paper - often on the editorial page. See also: How to Get Into the Newspapers , an article by Keith Devlin.

Radio-TV Public Service Announcements

Radio and television stations may run PSAs of 10, 20, and 30 seconds in length. The script could focus on Mathematics Awareness Month in general or specifically on your local events. You must provide at least one good slide with 10, 20, and 30 second scripts as part of requesting a local TV station to run your PSA. It helps to have the materials and the request come from a local institution.

Sample 10-second scripts

THE UNIVERSITY OF _________ INVITES YOU TO JOIN IN CELEBRATING MATHEMATICS AWARENESS MONTH, APRIL 2006. MATHEMATICS GIVES US NEW DISCOVERIES AND OFFERS STUDENTS MANY CAREER OPTIONS. MATHEMATICS AWARENESS MONTH IS APRIL. EXPLORE MATHEMATICS ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB AT http://www.mathaware.org/ (or provide your own URL - the simpler, the better)

Cable TV

Cable television companies have local access channels that will make 30-minute blocks of time available. Propose a panel discussion to your local cable company on, e.g., "Careers in Mathematics." Provide a list of spokespersons, their institutions, and a few specific ideas about what you could discuss.