A friend's startup is giving $1Million in mobile devices and software to schools

Jason Woodlee Part Time CTO , Technologist with 20yrs experience

May 15th, 2014

Unfortunately even though he is giving away such and awesome benefit they are struggling to get media coverage beyond regional press in small pockets. Any advice on strategies to get to key press in National News Level?

Allison Sandhu Founder at LocalMeze

May 18th, 2014

I would also ask the schools for help. Depending on the kind of schools that he is giving it to, they may have their own contacts in the media. 

Andrew Stanek

May 15th, 2014


Unfortunately, it's not enough to hope that the national outlets will just pick it up on their own, but you can take action to get them interested.

It depends a little on what stage of the giveaway they're in. If your friend doesn't have any contacts in the national news media and no strategy to forge those connections quickly, then he pretty much has to make cold calls. A $1M giveaway is enough to get some attention at the national level but it'll be a pretty dirty process. Tell him to find contact info for key reporters/editors at the big national papers and networks, then send them emails with the press release/media packet, then call them 2-3 days later if they don't write back. (They probably won't - they get tons of press releases every day.)

Unfortunately, cold-calling reporters is a grinding, time-consuming process. While he might get lucky or I might have radically underestimated how interesting a $1M giveaway is, I wouldn't expect news outlets to get back to you in any time shorter than a week. If he doesn't have that kind of time, then he has to pick up the phone and start calling.

It's worth noting that when you're dealing with the national media, just one "in" can be enough to get your story vast mainstream coverage. Sometimes coverage in one national media outlet can get the other outlets to pick up the story. If he has one good contact - a producer on CNN for example, or an editor for one of the large papers - then that might be enough.

Hope that's helpful.

Josh Bohls Founder at Inkscreen

May 16th, 2014

I would recommend he contact someone in Arne Duncan's staff. It sounds like this would fit into the administrations key initiatives of tech in schools, especially if he is targeting low performing or low socio-economic districts. 

Robert Tolmach Entrepreneur and Social Entrepreneur

May 18th, 2014

Hi Jason
I thought I had replied a few days ago but do not see my note here, so will re-post. is the only nonprofit that lets anybody contribute to fund any resources for any school or teacher in the country.  Glad to talk with your friend and help however we can. Email me off-list: FirstInitialLastname at ClassWish dot org

Diana C

June 1st, 2014

Hi Jason:

I would submit it to EdSurge, a national resource for the latest news in education...

Debb Ed.D. Chief Learning Instigator at Ednak3D; Ambassador at Course Networking

May 18th, 2014

Giving away $1 million in devices is amazing, so don't get me wrong here.  At least 1/3 of that million should go to support the teacher's professional development on the pedagogical strategies for implementing these devises. If they were to utilize a large organization t (such as The Leadership and Learning Center) for the Prof. Dev. there would already be the connection to National Media through them, AND as a bonus- the district/teachers/students will benefit from a complete idea of a digitally rich environment.  

Sue Duris Marketing & Customer Experience Leader. Advisor.

May 25th, 2014

With any national press, there needs to be a hook. Remember journalists have to meet the needs of their audience. So asking would a reader of x media outlet be interested in this? Being ultra-specific in the news outlets approached with the proper pitch is paramount.

What is the story? Why $1M to schools? Is the $1M to particular schools/districts? Why these schools over others? Contacting Arnie Duncan/his staff won't get you much, other than frustration. I would suggest you possibly partner with schools and see if you can leverage any media relationships. Have they reached out to Education Week or any of the Mobile publications? How about second tier journalists and bloggers? Perhaps reach out to organizations like Edutopia, or those involved in EdTech?

Lots of things to ponder. The first step is to definitely create a plan. Will make it easier to execute and meet goals.