Content ideas

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month coverage: Do this, not that

What’s black and orange and pink all over?

If you guessed the month of October, you’re correct. While the craftiest of us stock up on spooky Halloween decorations and black and orange tulle, perhaps just as many are pulling out stashes of pink ribbons in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


Breast cancer-related stories are an obvious and popular topic for newsrooms to cover this upcoming month, but this October, we beg of you: don’t be lulled into telling the same stories you did last year and the year before.

In fact, if you’re thinking of writing any of these tried and true breast cancer awareness stories, we’ve got a few alternative ideas for you to consider.

1. INSTEAD OF THIS …

An event preview for the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event.

TRY THIS:

Thanks to her hugely successful breast cancer awareness foundation, Susan G. Komen is a household name these days. The foundation has clearly done its part in raising awareness – but in what other ways does it spend donor money? If donors want their money to be used for specific purposes like research or helping survivors pay off steep medical bill debt, where should they direct their financial offerings?

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 8.57.48 AM
Charity Navigator rating for Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Help out readers interested in donating by doing an exploratory piece on the breakdowns of how popular cancer organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure allocate donations – Charity Navigator is a great resource for this kind of reporting. Then, offer alternatives in the form of potentially lesser-known organizations where donations can have a big impact.


2. INSTEAD OF THIS …

A heartwarming feature of a local breast cancer survivor.

TRY THIS:

If you’re set on publishing a feature story this breast cancer awareness season, try writing from an angle you haven’t tackled before. For example:

  •  Breast cancer affects many different people in different ways; display that with a feature story that talks to several members of your coverage area’s breast cancer community. Write with the intention of dissuading any stereotypes or misunderstandings readers may have about the “typical” breast cancer experience.
  •  10 years later: Follow up with a family that has lost a member due to breast cancer. How has it changed their lives? How do they preserve this person’s memory?
  •  “New lease on life:” What crazy awesome or inspirational feats have breast cancer survivors taken on in your community? How did their diagnosis and treatment change their lives – for both the better and the worse?

3. INSTEAD OF THIS …

An event recap feature story about a breast cancer fundraiser.

TRY THIS:

At the event, take short video clips of participants answering the question, Why is this cause something you’re passionate about?, or Who inspired you to participate in breast cancer awareness?

Get extra points with younger audiences by recording the interviews for a Snapchat story. You can still save those videos to your phone and piece them together for a longer video to put on your site.


4. INSTEAD OF THIS …

A short story about the importance of getting screened for breast cancer, with quotes from a local physician or OB/GYN.

TRY THIS:

Set up a Facebook Live interview with a local family physician or gynecologist who offers breast cancer screenings. Promote the event to your Facebook audience in advance so they know when to tune in, and let them know they’ll be able to ask questions during the broadcast to be answered in live time.

Get a few questions ready ahead of time, like: How do you do an at-home test? What can you expect from a screening? Why is it so important? Should men get screenings too?


BONUS IDEAS:

  •  Look at data – starting with this Graphiq data visualization on breast cancer mortality by state. Talk to the experts in your area to find out why the mortality rate may be higher or lower than average in your state.

How will you be covering National Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @GHNewsroom.

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