/ Parish communication resources
As a diocese, we want to share stories of growth, news and resources within and beyond the Church through our Monthly News, diocesan website, social media presence and press relations.
We also want to support parishes as they communicate in their communities. The following guidelines aim to do that.
/ Social media in ministry guidelines
The Church is the original social network so using social media tools aids our mission. But there are also risks. These guidelines are designed to help a range of people think through how they use these tools in the life of the Church.
View the guidelines
/ Imagery for Parish Magazines
Parish Magazine Editors are free to make use of diocesan photos available on our Flickr gallery. We reserve all image rights but grant permission for use in Parish Magazines; get in touch if you have a query. Once you’ve chosen an image, save it: right-click on it, select the largest size, then save the high resolution version by right-clicking again.
Visit our Flickr gallery (high res)
Take a look at our recent pictures (low res)
/ Tips for writing news stories
There are great things happening in churches up and down the Diocese all the time but how many people outside your immediate parish or community know about them? The following tips are designed to help you communicate your good news in such a way that the people you want to reach -including local media – will really get the message.
- Good structure and flow helps the reader to understand the story better
- Most news stories follow a basic pattern of:
- Expansion of summary with additional
clarification/background info or details
- Quotes from one or two relevant people
- Action points/next steps – how the story is expected to unfold or what the reader can do as a result (e.g. web link, download, contact details)
- When writing for news (as opposed to longer feature articles or interviews) the reader should be able to understand the gist of your story from the opening lines
- Try to answer the questions ‘who, what, when , where , why’ in about 20 words
- This is particularly important when writing for the web as you often need to entice a reader with a short excerpt before they click through to the full story
‘20 members of Stoke Gifford church visited Uganda this month to visit fellow Christians in Kampala.’
‘The rain was pouring as an excited group of Stoke Gifford parishioners boarded the plane to begin their trip to Uganda.’
- The best news reports offer the facts of what happened and avoid too many unsubstantiated or emotive descriptions
- It’s fine to say something is the biggest or the first if you can provide evidence to support your claim but often not so good to report something as ‘unique’ (rarely the case) or ‘amazing’ or ‘enjoyable’ as these are personal opinions
- Save these more subjective descriptions or opinions for quotations (see below)
‘The largest official delegation of Christians ever to visit Uganda from a UK diocese arrived in Kampala on Tuesday to begin a two-week mission to local churches.’
‘A huge group of Christians from the UK was delighted to arrive in Kampala to begin a fantastic and undoubtedly memorable mission…’
- Direct quotations from relevant spokespeople are a good way to get across more subjective messages or opinions about the event/story in question
- They also add colour and credibility to the story because they offer a first hand account from someone who was there or involved
- Make the most of quotations to say something powerful/provocative/memorable which adds to the story rather than using cliché or predictable phrases
Commenting on the visit, Bishop Mike said: “The Stoke Gifford mission to Uganda is an imaginative and spiritually inspired way of living out our commitment as a diocese to building international partnerships in the gospel.”
Commenting on the visit, Bishop Mike said: “I am delighted that the team from Stoke Gifford have visited Uganda. I hope it will be a valuable time for them and wish them well in their mission.”
- - Well chosen pictures help tell your story, particularly online
- - Shots including people are generally more engaging than objects or landscapes but choose something eye-catching and relevant to your story
- - Where possible, avoid straight lines of people (especially men in suits), or ‘grip and grin’ shots (two people shaking hands and smiling)
- - Think creatively about the backdrop and what the image can add to the message you’re trying to convey
/ Tips on handling the media
If you’ve issued a press release to local media about something that’s happening in your parish, it’s always great if a journalist takes an interest and responds to ask for more information. But it can also be daunting or unsettling to find yourself answering questions unexpectedly. The tips below are designed to give you some basic principles for speaking to the press.
- Always be courteous; rude people make bad news
- If the call is unexpected find out what they want and ask them to ring back in 5 minutes. This gives you time to think, and write out what you want to say. If you agree to ring them back, make sure you do. If a busy reporter suggests visiting you, welcome this and make sure the kettle is on
- When giving information to the media it is best to be factual, frank, deliberate and to the point but ALWAYS in a firm, friendly manner
- Answer questions in your own words and in complete sentences. A ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to a loaded question can have startling consequences
- You’re not bound to answer every question, don’t be bullied. If possible make sure that you control the interview in an astute and gentle way
- Be positive – mere denials or ‘no comments’ suggests you have something to hide. This could be an opportunity to kill false rumours. Mistakes multiply when people refuse to talk so be helpful and the reporter will usually respond in the same way
- If you have problems answering a question, don’t flannel. If appropriate tell the reporter you’ll find out and call back
- The reporter has column inches / air minutes to fill. Feed them your facts in a way that dictates the angle of the interview. If you don’t want it reported, don’’t say it!
- Rarely, if ever, go ‘off the record’. It just isn’t worth it or safe. This is not to misjudge the reporter, rather if something is worth saying be honest and say it!
- NEVER try and pull rank on a reporter
If you need advice call Oliver Home, Diocesan Communications Officer on 01454 252 174 or email email@example.com
/ Church Interiors on Google
Churches may choose to commission a photographer to take interior photos to enrich their entries on Google (the interior views can be embedded on the ACNY website as well). Example interior shots.
- - We believe that the opportunity to show the world that these places belong to everyone and can be de-mystified outweighs possible issues
- - Costs seem to be in the region of £400-£500
- - Hide valuables, tidy up, and blur anything, including faces, which you don’t want public
- - This shouldn’t affect insurance, but do inform your insurer by email/letter that you intend to carry out this work before proceeding
- All heritage sites, private businesses such as hotels, buildings using the tool for marketing face the same situation, but in the technological age it can work well
/ Useful contacts
To submit news items, and for press information:
Oliver Home, tel: 01454 252 174
For web/digital queries and feedback:
New Media Officer: Sam Cavender, tel: 0117 906 0100
To submit events:
Events & submission >>