How to attract media to your Hour of Code event

Make a splash with your Hour of Code event and invite local media to see why computer science is important at your school.

For all press and media inquiries, contact press@code.org


Key Tips

  • Reach out to media two weeks before your event via email. Follow up by email and phone if you don't receive an initial response.
  • Ask a school staff member or volunteer to take photos to share online or send to press.
  • Write about the Hour of Code on your website’s homepage and in your school newspaper. Post your event details, and pictures of student activities.
  • On Facebook and Twitter, share updates on your plans, announce your events, and post pictures during 2018. Use the hashtag #HourOfCode so Code.org can see and promote your events.

Step-by-step guide

1. Plan your event

  • Plan an assembly to kick off the Hour of Code.
  • Send a letter to parents and ask them to spread the word.
  • Send a letter to invite your local mayor, member of Congress, governor, or influential businessperson to attend and speak to your students.
  • Organize group activities (like a demonstration of an ‘unplugged’ programming activity), or show off student-created and led activities.
  • Show Code.org’s Hour of Code video or one of these videos to inspire students.

2. Identify specific reporters that cover education or local events

Like local newspapers, TV station or radio stations, or blogs.

3. Contact local media

The best way to reach out is by email. It should be short and should communicate "why should other people care about this event"? Include contact information (including a cellphone number) for who will be on site at the event. See a sample pitch to media.

Look online to find reporter contact information. If you can't find it, call the publication to ask, or email the organization's general email address and ask for your message to be directed to the correct reporter.

4. Prepare to field questions about your school event. Here are some examples:

Why is your school doing an Hour of Code?

While all of us know that it’s important for students to learn how to navigate today’s tech-saturated world, many teachers aren’t experienced in computer science and don’t know where to start. This event is a chance for all of us to see what computer science is about.

We hope it’ll spark interest in students to keep learning. Research also shows that kids can pick up programming concepts before they know how to read and write. In fact, their brains are more receptive to computer languages at a young age, just like foreign languages.

Why is this important?

Technology is transforming every industry on the planet. In 2015, 7 million openings in the U.S. were in occupations—including art and design—that value coding skills. But 60 percent of schools in the U.S. don't teach computer science. It’s time for us to catch up to the 21st-century. We know that regardless of what our students do when they grow up, whether they go into medicine, business, politics, or the arts, knowing how to build technology will give them confidence and a competitive edge.

Sample email to send to invite local media to your event

Subject line: Local school joins mission to introduce students to computer science

Computers are everywhere, changing every industry on the planet, but fewer than half of all schools teach computer science. Girls and minorities are severely underrepresented in computer science classes, and in the tech industry. Good news is, we’re on our way to change this.

With the Hour of Code, computer science has been on homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo!, and Disney. Over 100 partners have joined together to support this movement. Every Apple Store in the world has hosted an Hour of Code. Even President Obama wrote his first line of code as part of the campaign.

That’s why every one of the [X number] students at [SCHOOL NAME] are joining in on the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week (December 3-9).

I'm writing to invite you to attend our kickoff assembly and to see kids start the activity on [DATE].

The Hour of Code, organized by the nonprofit Code.org and over 100 others, is a global movement that believes the students of today are ready to learn critical skills for 21st-century success. Please join us.

Contact: [YOUR NAME], [TITLE], cell: (212) 555-5555 When: [DATE and TIME of your event] Where: [ADDRESS and DIRECTIONS]

I look forward to being in touch.

Additional details and a quote you can use in materials

"The Hour of Code is designed to demystify code and show that computer science is not rocket science—anybody can learn the basics," said Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org. "Over 100 million students worldwide have tried an Hour of Code. The demand for relevant 21st-century computer science education crosses all borders and knows no boundaries."

About Code.org

Code.org is a 501c3 public non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Its vision is that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer programming. After launching in 2013, Code.org organized the Hour of Code campaign – which has introduced over 100 million students to computer science to date – and partnered with 70 public school districts nationwide to expand computer science programs. Code.org is supported by philanthropic donations from corporations, foundations and generous individuals, including Microsoft, Facebook, Infosys Foundation USA, Amazon, and others. For more information, please visit: code.org.

Find more resources and sample emails here.