How to Place Hope and Healing In College Newspapers
Most private Christian and Catholic colleges will readily welcome Hope and Healing as a paid advertising insert into their student newspapers. A few may even be willing to insert it at no charge as a service to their students. It can’t hurt to ask.
Because of the nature of this publication, most secular university newspapers will also be reasonably receptive to accepting it as a advertising insert. Before you begin to contact college editors, however, it is important to understand that the abortion debate at these schools is typically discussed as a women’s rights issue both in and out of the classroom.
For most students, abortion is simply a question of a “woman’s choice,” and issues like post-abortion trauma have not entered into their thinking. What little they do know may be shaped by pro-abortion claims that post-abortion trauma is merely an “anti-choice scare tactic” and doesn’t really exist.
This general ignorance is not a major obstacle, however, because most campus newspapers are very supportive of free speech. With a little persistence, most will probably accept the Hope and Healing supplement as a paid advertising insert.
Contacting the Newspaper
Your local library will have a list of private and public colleges and universities in your state. If the listing does not include the name and address of the campus newspaper, address your contact letter to the advertising manager of the campus newspaper. The campus post office will route the letter to their office.
Click here for a sample contact letter that will be helpful when you contact the local college or university newspaper. You may also want to send the insertion order as part of your initial contact letter. At the very least, you will need to obtain a signed insertion order before the insertion can take place.
If you do not receive an affirmative answer within a month, you should make a phone call and ask them to explain their reasons for not accepting the advertisement.
The most common reasons given for not accepting a pro-life supplement in a college newspaper are: (1) editorial disagreement over content, (2) fear of the possible controversy it may cause on campus, and (3) the newspaper already has too many other supplements being inserted at the same time.
You should immediately send a letter addressing these concerns. This letter should be addressed to both the editorial staff and the faculty advisor. The last page of this mailing lists some arguments that may be helpful when addressing issues about content and possible controversy.
It is very important that your letter be a journalistic argument only, not a pro-life argument; the content of the supplement will speak for itself. Experience has shown that the journalistic argument is more acceptable, and will sometimes sway even the most biased pro-abortion editorial boards.
At this stage, it is also important to draw the faculty advisor into the discussion since it the advisor’s job to teach the students good journalistic ethics and respect for free speech. Though the faculty advisor may not be pro-life, he or she may be your best ally. During the interview, suggest that the staff include an editorial explaining why they chose to accept the supplement.
Many colleges and universities need to be contacted at least twice during the school year, as there is a continual change of editorial staff and different types of advertising supplements are accepted at different times during the school year.
Most editors will accept the supplement more readily if they are contacted personally by a pro-life student or pro-life or Christian group on campus.
If they don’t accept your supplement, don’t be discouraged. Editors and editorial policies frequently change. Don’t be afraid to go to the faculty advisor, the dean of the college that oversees the journalism department, even the college president. Find allies in on-campus Christian organizations, local pro-life groups, churches, doctors and mental health professionals. You may have to contact some colleges and universities several times before they agree to accept the supplement.
Keep a list of the colleges and universities that do accept the supplement and include this list with next year’s contact letter. The staff will probably be more willing to accept your supplement if they see that other schools are also doing it, since they won’t want to be “out of step” with other campus newspapers.
The cost for an advertising insert should be in the ball park of $50 per thousand. Occasionally, a hostile editor will try to discourage placement by asking for an exorbitant advertising fee. Do not submit to blackmail, especially since this can establish a precedent for similar “gouging” at other universities.
Simply go through the same procedures used when placement is rejected. Respond with arguments focused on journalistic ethics and draw the faculty advisor or department head into the negotiations as an arbiter.
Once the supplement has been accepted, you need to inform the local crisis pregnancy centers and post-abortion ministries that they can expect some additional phone calls inquiring about their services.
Be sure to check that the supplement went into the campus newspaper on the date agreed upon. It is also a good idea to obtain the next couple of issues of the newspaper, as letters to the editor will include opinions from students and faculty about the supplement content.
If you do not live near the college, contact the local pro-life group or crisis pregnancy center and ask them to do this for you. Keep in touch with your contact person to make sure they follow up.
Please send copies of any editorial articles or letters to the editor regarding Hope and Healing to the Elliot Institute. This will help guide the improvement of later editions as well as provide a resource of endorsements that can be used to make it easier to gain permission to place Hope and Healing in other newspapers.How to Handle Objections to Hope and Healing
Getting the Supplement into High School Newspapers
Most high school newspapers report on sensitive issues such as teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, guns in school, and gang violence. Many states have an organization or publication that serves as a link between high school newspapers in that state. Contacting the faculty advisor of the local high school newspaper will help you gain access to the state’s list of high school newspapers.
In addition to the local high school newspaper, many students receive private publications that are distributed at school. The distribution rate for the high school newspaper and other publications is generally equal to the student population and is heavily filled with advertisements. The same procedures used in obtaining placement in a university can be used here.
You might also recommend Hope and Healing to school counselor, the principal, the family life teacher, and the special events coordinator for distribution whenever the newspaper staff covers issues such as teenage pregnancy, daycare, and parenting.