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NPS Archeology Guide > Archeology Outreach > 7. Media and Social Media

Media and Social Media

Use media to promote your project, cast a net for volunteers, and report on the benefits of archeology for the public. It is always a best practice to coordinate communications through or with your public information officer.

News and Popular Media

Before speaking with the press, or releasing information to the media, check with your park or regional public information officer.

Media might include television, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, letters, radio shows, or other formats. Public libraries are another forum, be they for archeologist talks, flyers, or special events. Sometimes a media opportunity will come to you. Other times, you will be responsible for getting the word out about a project. Consider contacting nationwide and local stations, but also think about the park website and NPS public relations as other opportunities.

If the media contacts you for more information or an interview, remember:

One tool is the press release. Press releases can reach a broad audience and bring attention to a park's outreach programs. Consider using a press release to promote an upcoming exhibit or public program, to advertise for volunteers, or to report on a project. Here are some questions to guide writing a press release:

Examples of press releases include:

Try to keep the press release to a page in length. Consider style: speak to a layperson audience, but do not "dumb down" information.

Think broadly about media opportunities. Consider working with local tourism bureaus, chambers of commerce, museum networks, or others. Partnerships can also help to fund projects or provide volunteers. Building relationships with these groups can help establish the larger impact of park outreach on local economies and communities.

Social Media

Social media provides the NPS with another way to promote outreach activities and create networks of interested groups. Opportunities include Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and YouTube, but other platforms are available. Social media is both outreach and a way to spread news and information quickly about archeological outreach projects to a broad constituency.

The NPS has extensive guidance (InsideNPS) on best practices for social media. Be sure to review Policy Memorandum 11-02 (pdf), which addresses NPS policy on social media and provides advice on nonofficial or personal use of social media.

Outreach through social media keeps the NPS in the public's mind. Uses for social media range from announcements about special events, to cancellations or closings, to reminders about things to do, to building communities of people with shared concerns for NPS resources. Consider creative applications; examples include sending trivia, question and answer sessions with a ranger, and scavenger hunts.

Depending on the needs of a park or program, consider carefully who should have access to the accounts. A large park, for example, may want to share responsibilities so that visitor services, emergency response, and the interpretation division can all update as needed. Change the passwords as necessary for security purposes.

Your site's internet capabilities and security requirements will have an impact on which social media opportunities are available to you. Partners can help by hosting and maintaining blogs, or running chats. Check with your supervisor or Superintendent to discern existing policies.

If you use social media to support archeological outreach at a park, program, or initiative, remember:

Archeology-specific guidelines for social media sites include:

Examples of NPS social media sites include:

And in the parks and programs: