Independent Living Institute

Media Information

Disability Awareness in Action
Resource Kit No. 1


Download the Media Information Kit as a PDF file (60 KB)

12. Printing, Circulation and Distribution


Some useful information for the production of newsletters, campaign materials, leaflets and press releases.


The method of production you use is likely to depend on your budget. Photocopying is practical and cheap if the print run is a relatively small one of, say, up to 100 copies. For larger runs, it's sensible to use a professional printing process.

Photocopying and other straightforward duplicating processes impose certain restrictions on the kinds of illustrations that can be used. Line drawings or cartoons will reproduce reasonably well, photographs won't. Offset printing or instant printing is a good choice when you want to include photographs.


The method of printing you use will determine how you produce the copy. You can have it professionally typeset, or produce it yourself on a typewriter, word processor, or desktop publishing system.

If you use professional printers, start with a consultation. Printers want your custom and will guide you through the production process with advice and information. They'll supply samples of the various type styles and sizes available.

With the information you get from the printers, you will need to prepare clean, error-free material to be sent to the typesetters. It's up to you to decide on suitable typefaces and typesizes for headlines, captions and other print elements.

If you are preparing your own copy, a trick to be aware of is that typed copy can be made to appear more like typeset copy if, once it's typed, it is reduced in size. You can reduce the size by taking the typed copy to an instant printer or on some types of photocopier. The end product becomes crisper and more sharply defined, very much like typeset letters. Usually a reduction of about 10-15 per cent will improve the look of the type.

You can produce good headlines on a word-processor by choosing a larger typesize. On a standard typewriter, use capital letters for all headings. If you're planning to photocopy or instant print your publication, you can work with transfer lettering to achieve a good variety of headline typesize and typeface.


Check all copy for accuracy of names, places, dates and times. Spelling should be correct and consistent and the text free from grammatical errors.

All copy prepared for publication should be proof-read, by two people if possible. It's sensible for someone other than the person who wrote or typed the copy to do the proof-reading. If you are very familiar with the copy, you may have greater difficulty spotting errors.

Art Work and Photographs

Line drawings are the most common and least expensive form of illustration. You can create your own using a black felt tip pen. You can also trace existing drawings, but be sure the original is not covered by copyright law. There are copyright-free books of line drawing illustrations available through graphic art supply shops and in some large libraries.

Photos can be cropped - the edges can be eliminated to make the central content stand out more. You can also reduce or expand the size of a photo. Photos reduce or expand in size proportional to their original measurements.

If photos have been produced by a professional, they may be under copyright. As with articles, if you want to reprint someone else's material, you need to ask permission. This is almost always granted. You may also have to pay, so it might be better to use your own photographs if you can. For photocopying, black and white photos copy better than colour.


Aim for a clean, organised look with a logical arrangement of content.

If someone in your organisation has experience of publication lay-out, use them. If not, ask your printer to do it for you.


Get to know who's who in the media. Study the mastheads and bylines of newspapers and general interest, news, feature, professional and trade magazines. Listen to radio and TV broadcasts and note the names of shows. In radio or TV, remember that, as well as the host or star, behind-the-scenes people with titles like producer, assignment editor or researcher should also receive press releases.

Use this material to draw up mailing lists, which you can then re-use. You will almost certainly want to compile more than one mailing list. You'll need a specialised list for listing/PSA mailings, with the titles and addresses for all outlets in print or broadcast in your area, and at least one other for press releases. You might want one release mailing geared to hard news and another geared to features.

Newspapers or magazines may accept a supply of camera-ready art displaying the name of your organisation, its logo and message for use as a filler if advertising space is available. For a public service broadcast on a local TV station, you might consider including two copies of one 35 mm colour slide, showing the name of your organisation, logo and a brief message. This will provide a visual element while your script is being read by an announcer.

Don't send press releases, listings or PSAs to the named holder of an editorial position unless you've made a phone call to discuss the information first. Media people change jobs a lot. Compile the list by job title, the name of the publication or the show and broadcast station and address. You might need to send the release to several people at larger newspapers - editor, education, health or finance reporter, for example. For broadcasting, job titles will be producer, news editor, assignment editor, researcher or public service director.


Distribute your material as widely as possible within budget limitations.

Check with the postal authorities as to whether your publication is eligible for reduced postage rates. Be sure that any postal registration number issued by the post office is clearly displayed.

13. Contacts


Making contacts in the media is very important if you are to let people know about disability issues. Make sure you're reaching all the right people. Once you have made a contact, work hard to keep it.

Action Ideas

A large library will have copies of media directories. These list media outlets - publications and broadcast stations, their addresses, phone and fax numbers and chief personnel. The listings are usually alphabetical.

Draw up a list of the ones that may be relevant to your work. Listen to their output or buy a copy of a journal to see how disability issues can be added to their coverage.

Maintaining contacts with the media is very important. Once editors and producers know that you can provide them with stories, that you are reliable and knowledgeable, they will be keen to work with you again.

Whenever you speak to anyone at a newspaper or broadcast station, be polite, even if they seem difficult. It may be that you've called at a bad time; that they have a deadline to meet. Chances are, if you ring back another time, they won't remember they were rude, or even who you are. If this happens, just start again as pleasantly as you can. If you still encounter rudeness, don't take it personally. On the whole, though, people will explain if they are too busy to speak to you.

Take a note of the names and titles of people you have contact with. If something comes out of your discussions - a mention, a news story, a feature - write a note to thank the people involved. They're more likely to remember you.

Above all, think of your relationship with the media as a partnership, which can be of benefit to all. Good luck!

14. Definition of Terms


Alignment: The arrangement of type and other graphic matter to be perfectly level in one horizontal or vertical line

Artwork: Illustrations and other decorative material prepared for reproduction Body copy or text The main text of a work, excluding the headings

Bold face: A typeface which appears with blacker, heavier strokes than normal and is used for emphasis (for example, in headings)

Break a story: To (be the first to) make a piece of news known

Byline: A line printed with a newspaper or magazine article or photograph that gives the author's or photographer's name

Capital: A large letter. A, in contrast to a. Also known as upper case

Caption: The descriptive heading or accompanying wording of an illustration, or the heading of an article, chapter or section

Centre: To align a line of type so that the middle of the line is at the centre of the specified width

Circulation: The spreading of information

Column: A vertical section of a page containing text or other information

Commission: To offer a firm commitment to print an item

Copy: Material to be printed, e.g.. typescripts, photographs and line drawings

Copy-editing: The preparation of a manuscript for typesetting, including correcting linguistic usage, spelling and punctuation according to printer's guidelines

Copyright: The legal and exclusive right of an originator of an article or illustration to reproduce that work unless he or she gives permission to another

Credit: An acknowledgement of the organisation or person that has provided an illustration, photograph, etc.

Crosshead: A centred heading for a subsection or paragraph

DAA: Disability Awareness in Action

Deadline: The date before which a task must be completed; e.g., the time after which material for an issue of a newspaper or magazine won't be accepted

Decade: The United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992)

Design: The planning and arrangement of the form of publications, including format, typography, photography and illustrations

Desktop publishing: A publishing system made up of a personal computer, the necessary software and a laser printer, used to produce printed material, including text and graphics

Director: The head of an organisation; the person who is responsible for supervising the artistic and technical aspects of a broadcast

Distribution: The sending of material from producer to consumer; e.g., from your organisation to members of the media

DPI: Disabled Peoples' International

Draft: A basic outline, plan, or rough version of text, illustration, etc.

Editor : Person responsible for editorial policy and content of a newspaper or periodical; person who prepares copy for publication or broadcast

Embargo: An order not to use a piece of information (until a specified time)

File: To submit copy to a newspaper

Headline: The line at the top of a page containing the title of an article

House style : The set of guidelines on spelling, punctuation and linguistic usage of a printer, typesetter, or publication, as opposed to the author's usage

Illustration: A drawing, photograph, painting, used to explain or decorate text.

ILSMH: International League of Societies for Persons with Mental Handicap

INGO: International non-governmental organisation

Italic: Type that slopes to the right. It is used for emphasis in the text

Journal: A periodical concerned with specialist subjects; a daily newspaper

Justify: To adjust the positions of words on a page, distributing additional space in lines so that the right margin forms a straight vertical and parallel edge to the left margin

Large print: Printed in very large type for reading by partially sighted people.

Layout: The plan of a publication showing position of type and illustrations, and specifying typesizes and typefaces

Lead: The main news story in a newspaper

Leader: Newspaper editorial (opinion piece by the Editor)

Lead time: Amount of time needed if a story is to used by journalists

Lower case: The small letters of the alphabet. a, as opposed to A

Magazine: A publication issued regularly containing articles, stories, etc. by various people and usually including advertising

Margin: The space on a page that surrounds the printed text

Masthead: The name of a newspaper or periodical in the typographical form in which it normally appears; a similar block of information used as a heading

Medium: A means of effecting or conveying something. Plural: media

News agency: An organisation that collects news and sells it to newspapers, periodicals, television and radio companies

Newspaper : A publication issued usually daily or weekly containing news, reviews, articles and advertisements

Periodical: A magazine or journal issued regularly, e.g. monthly or quarterly

Picture library: A resource that contains a collection of photographs which may be used, for a payment and with due acknowledgement, for reproduction in a publication

Press: A printing press; a printing or publishing organisation; newspapers, magazine, etc., considered collectively

Press pack: A collection of written material giving information to journalists

Press release: A statement giving information about something, sent or given to newspapers, reporters, etc.

Print run: The number of copies printed at a single printing

Producer: Person with responsibility for the administrative aspects of the production of a programme

Reaffirmation: Reaffirmation of Commitment to the World Programme of Action

Story: A news article or broadcast

Text: The main written or printed words in a publication, in contrast to the preliminary matter, headings, illustrations, etc.

Typeface: The printing surface of type cut into one of a variety of styles

Upper case: A capital letter. A, in contrast to a

WPA: World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons

Contents for Media Information