In the past few days this question has popped up in several places, Facebook chat, various Spartan groups and I’m sure many others who are signed up for the 2013 Summer Death Race who have not fulfilled the media requirement have questions as well.
One of the most difficult parts of this task to many is actually figuring out who to contact. I mean you can’t just walk into a place with your axe and tell them to write a story about you….though that might work, it just probably would not give you the results seek. The easiest places to start are local newspapers. Local papers usually have a larger focus on what people in the community are doing as opposed to big national news coverage. This is a great chance to get someone interested in you because you are taking on a challenge that most people will never face in their life. It gives them a great story to showcase. For those of you living in larger cities this may pose more of a challenge but all newspapers have local sections. There are county papers, town papers, and of course you have your large publications. The point is there are a lot of options and even some News Studios will gladly squeeze a five minute segment in their early morning news if you go and stand outside their studio early enough in the morning to talk to someone.
To contact someone once you find a newspaper isn’t as difficult as you’d think. For my local papers, including the Chicago Tribune’s Red Eye and the Daily Herald. I went through their online directory and contacted every person I could. I emailed. I called. Then I emailed. Called again. I just went down the list of relevant employees and sent individual emails and made multiple phone calls not accepting just leaving a voicemail. I made sure I spoke with someone.
Soon enough there were multiple newspapers interested and I landed an interview, photo-shoot and after finishing the Death Race was surprised to see a segment talking about me and displaying a photo of myself and Morgan after the race on ABC 7’s Sunday Morning Chicago newscast.
The Death Race is not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of ways to get this across to whomever you speak to and usually this is more than enough to get them intrigued. Some key points to ask yourself when you are telling them about the race:
Have you told them the website for the Death Race is www.youmaydie.com. Have you told them you have no idea what you’ll actually have to do? Have you told them you have no idea how much distance the course will cover? Have you mentioned that the race lasted up to 67 hours last year? Have you told them about some of the past tasks, such as chopping wood, carrying a 60 lb sandbag up Joe’s mountain, taking a two hour exam, etc? Have you given them a background on who you are and what motivated you to sign up for the race? Have you told them about the penalty if you DON’T get an article published?
Just like a job application thank them for taking the time to read your request, tell them you are a local athlete and that you believe your story is of interest to them. Also what I found works it to keep trying. If you don’t hear back for a few days, send another email. The news will always have “dead” zones that need to be filled and sometimes they don’t know they NEED your story until all of a sudden they have nothing to talk about. So keep at it and good luck to everyone trying to get their news articles published.