Speaking to the media is a great way of volunteering and ensuring that people affected by prostate cancer have their voice heard. It can be both an exciting and daunting experience, so we asked volunteer, John Thompson, for his tips.
John’s top tips
“When news about prostate cancer is of national interest, then Prostate Cancer UK will get involved.
A recent example was the campaign to get the Scottish Government to change its mind over abiraterone and a well-orchestrated media campaign played a significant role in achieving that. One major help was another volunteer, who spoke of the fact that he had had to cash in his pension in order to be able to afford the treatment. Human experience can make all the difference in telling a story.
And for most people, that is what you are being asked to do. It could happen during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month or Movember, for example, and it may be the local newspaper contacting you for your story. If you do get asked for your story, here are my top tips:
Ask them for a bit more detail and then ask them to call you back in ten minutes.
During that ten minutes write down some bullet points, like symptoms, diagnosis, suggested treatment, actual treatment, how you feel now and who to thank.
Keep it short and simple. Make sure the journalist understands what you’re saying and refer them to the Prostate Cancer UK website for more specialised information.
Don’t forget to take down their phone number.
No journalist is trying to catch you out but you may be asked, for example , ‘would it be fair to say such-and-such?’ and if you say, ‘Yes’ you will be quoted as saying such-and-such!
Read the piece when it’s published. If there is a major error then contact the editor and ask for a correction, but never forget the reason you have been asked in the first place.
If in doubt, check with the media team at Prostate Cancer UK who will support you through the process.
By sharing your experience, you can help others to do so as well. Hope this helps!"