Online resource launched to help media relations

The Voluntary Action Media Unit yesterday launched a website to help journalists to get what they need from charities.

AskCharity.org.uk was created after a VAMU report revealed a lack of understanding between charities and the media (Third Sector, 19 October).

It works like Google in that users can type in a charity name or subject to get more details. Journalists can fill in an online form detailing what they want, and an email will go directly to every relevant charity on the site.

But Penny Wrout, BBC London communities editor, who has been piloting the website, warns it will only work if charities become more media-savvy.

"Too many charities have a very poor understanding of media deadlines," she said.

"If journalists use the site and charities respond by saying they can't help in time, people will soon stop using it."

- See Hot Issue, page 23.

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