When you decide to share your story in the media, there are things to consider, and we have tried to highlight what you should be aware of below.
Please tell us if you have any objections to featuring in particular newspapers.
Popular newspapers include:
- Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday
- The Sun and the Sun on Sunday
- Daily Express and Sunday Express
- Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror
- The Guardian
- The Times
- The Daily Telegraph & the Sunday Telegraph
- The Independent
Free newspapers include:
- London Evening Standard
- The Metro
Most newspapers have online editions and some, for example, the Daily Mail, have a large number of contributors to the comments section. People that comment may be trolls (people deliberately trying to provoke or upset others) or simply ignorant. Normally articles about facial palsy provoke a positive and supportive response but comments such as “I don’t know what he/she is complaining about, they look fine to me…” can be extremely hurtful to someone with facial palsy. If you would find it difficult to cope with ignorant comments then it may be better to steer away from being featured in an article which can be commented on online.
Local newspapers will sometimes share your story with the national press if they think it is of interest. We don’t always have control over this, so be prepared that if your story goes in the local press then it could go viral.
We always try to work with journalists that we trust to report a story accurately. Please do bear in mind that if a newspaper picks up a story, they will need to edit it to fit the space they have. We have no control over this final editing, only the original story issued to the newspaper. They should not change the main story, but they may chop large sections out of it making it a shorter story. They could also pick out something that you have talked about and make it the main focus of the story when you’re not expecting it. Remember to always insist on a read-back of the story before you agree to be a case study, you should get this commitment in writing. Some journalists will read it to you over the phone but it is preferable to insist they email it.
There are many magazines on the market and they cater to different demographics. Here we will list some of the magazines we know of although please note some may not favour stories about facial palsy. Please tell us if you have objections to appearing in particular magazines.
- Love it!
- My Weekly (over 45 age bracket)
- Pick Me Up
- Take a Break
- That’s Life
- Woman (target audience: 30 to 40 year old women)
- Woman & Home
- Woman’s Own
- Woman’s Weekly (Mature women)
- Real People
- Good Housekeeping
- Marie Claire
- Yours (50 plus)
- Women’s Health
- Pride Magazine
Mother & Baby Magazines
- Mother & Baby
- Prima Baby
- Men’s Health
- Health for Men (more focused on fitness)
- Runner’s World
- Psychology Today
About being featured in a magazine
When considering being featured in a magazine, think about your goals.
- Do you simply want to share your story?
- Do you want other people to gain comfort from reading your story?
- Do you want others to know they can receive support and information from Facial Palsy UK?
Sometimes if you have already been featured in a newspaper, a journalist may contact you directly expressing interest in your story. If you have an uncommon name they may find you via social media, this is common practice. We advise that you speak to us first before agreeing to give your story to a particular magazine. This is because once your story is told in one magazine then it is unlikely another magazine will also feature you. We want the experience you have to be a good one. Some magazines may occasionally offer payment but you do need to get commitment in writing from them. You also want to ensure you get a final read-back of your story before it is used, to give you the chance to correct any errors. It may be that you want the magazine to specifically mention Facial Palsy UK, some magazines are very good at including a mention of the charity but others are very bad at it.
Before you agree to be featured in a specific magazine we recommend you have a look through a past edition of the magazine, to ensure the reading style suits you. Some weekly magazines are very sensationalist. You may have signed off that you are happy with your story but the magazine may feature you on the cover with a sensationalist headline. We think it’s important that you are aware of this.
What impact will your story have on others?
When someone picks up a magazine or paper and reads a personal story about someone with facial palsy, it mostly brings great comfort, they feel less alone with their experiences. We have an increase in enquiries (if the charity is mentioned in the article) when magazine or newspaper articles are printed.
What impact will sharing your story in the media have on you?
There will always be a small part of the process that goes wrong. You may not like a heading used or a photographic caption, or the way some bits of your story have been chopped out of the final article. Any feelings of dissatisfaction are usually short lived though and media volunteers often feel overwhelmed by the positive reaction to their story, not just from strangers but also from family and friends who possibly haven’t fully realised how facial palsy has affected your life.
The key thing for us is that you carefully think about where you would like your story used. As it is difficult to get a story into newspapers and magazines, the less restrictions we have the better. However, your wellbeing is the most important thing to us, hence we have written these guidelines explaining the process and pitfalls in more detail.
What if I regret sharing my story?
It’s extremely difficult to pull a media story once it is on the internet and not something we can guarantee. We will always remove personal stories from the Facial Palsy UK website on request but we can’t guarantee media organisations will do the same. At a later date, someone with an uncommon name may decide they no longer want their facial palsy story easily found on the internet for privacy reasons.
In May 2014, a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (C-131/12, 13 May 2014) found that certain people can ask search engines to remove specific results for queries that include their name, where the interests in those results appearing are outweighed by the person’s privacy rights.
This article gives more information about this:
Photographs are a really important aspect of the story and even if someone has a fantastic story, if they don’t offer clear photos that help tell the story, media organisations may not be interested.
We don’t like it but often media organisations want before and after pictures that tell a story of extreme highs and lows, e.g. before surgery/after surgery, before facial palsy/after facial palsy, diagnosed with Bell’s palsy/recovered from Bell’s palsy, etc. The media do not always want to tell the stories that we think should be heard and this makes our job difficult. Many people newly diagnosed with facial palsy avoid the camera and we completely understand this. A lack of photographs does make it more difficult to tell your story if one day you decide you are ready to share it.
Television and Radio
With television and radio this is what you should consider:
- Are you willing to speak live on air or would you only take part if the programme is prerecorded?
- Are you available to travel at short notice? For example, we may get a phone call asking for a case study to travel to Salford (BBC Breakfast studios) with only 24 hours notice.
- You may be invited to take part in a television interview, which can be very exciting, and then at the last minute it may be cancelled. This is not a reflection on you and doesn’t mean your story is not interesting enough. It is simply that news is constantly changing and the media fill their time slots with the very latest topical news.
Obviously you have more control over what you say in spoken interviews and those confident enough to take part often find it a rewarding experience. Some people come away feeling they have forgotten to mention important points. This is absolutely normal and those who do television or radio should just be proud that they put themselves out there as a spokesperson for all those affected by facial palsy.
Also to consider
There are many reasons why a newspaper or magazine may not be interested in a story. If it’s a surgery story they may want someone who has had the surgery in the last year or two and turn down anything less recent. As mentioned previously, they may not want to feature someone who has already been heavily featured in the media. However, if there is a new twist on your story, for example, you might have recently got married, landed a dream job, had a baby or won an award; then your story may well be of interest again. It is a fickle business unfortunately, but the main thing is to remember that your story is important to many people, particularly those affected by facial palsy. Many people gain great comfort just from reading the stories on our website and we will be glad to share yours.
Last reviewed: 16-02-2020 || Next review due: 16-02-2022