We're often asked to generate press coverage of public engagement/dialogue activities, to help recruit participants to the events, to encourage people to take part in an online debate or to share the findings of the engagement.
While we've had great success in attracting the attention of local and regional press, the national media have been particularly difficult to engage. Getting them to cover the findings is reasonably straightforward - the news value is clear isn't it? But asking them to play a role in the democratic process (i.e. providng the information and signposting to enable citizens to take part) seems almost impossible. We've tried all the tricks in the book - linking it to a scientific breakthrough, offering great speakers for interview, getting scientists and politicians to make controversial statemements, to name but a few.
This, coupled with the declining readership of mainstream media, is leading us to think that we're wasting our time and should focus on online outlets.
But, before we abandon the old completely, I want to ask whether we are alone in this? Do any of you have examples where you have successfully attracted traditional national media coverage that has enabled people to take part in a public debate or dialogue and how did you do it? Do any science journalists have any suggestions that might help us?