How to pitch your story to the media

Young woman standing outside parliament

Your diagnosis story is important - from early symptoms and diagnosis to getting your life back on track, we follow and support many individuals on their journeys. Your story can help you make sense of your diagnosis and remind you that you are not alone.

Sharing your story can help others living through a similar experience and inspire others to raise awareness of Crohn' and Colitis, too.

If you are an adult, you might want to consider sharing your story with the media. Often, political representatives read local papers, so this means your story could be seen by decision makers and help us push early diagnosis for Crohn's and Colitis up the political agenda.

It might feel challenging to talk about your or a loved one's diagnosis journey and why early diagnosis is important to you. Our tips below will help you find the right media outlet and the words to pitch your story.

Young woman standing outside parliament

In every corner of the country, there are people living with Crohn's and Colitis. Their insights could identify problems, offer solutions, and create lasting change. But so often, their voices and stories are unheard. We need you in all the diversity of your voices in the media and beyond. Together, we can inspire others and influence change.

Burcu Borysik, Head of Policy and Campaigns

Please remember that journalists will write your story in their own words and in the style of the newspaper or magazine they are working for. It is unlikely that you will have the opportunity to review the words and any images you share before publication. Once your story is published, it could appear in other publications or other online sources. Many people tell us that they enjoy helping to promote Crohn's and Colitis through the media. So hopefully you will too!

Here are our supporters Sasha and Natalie talking about the importance and power of sharing their story.

Deciding the media outlet

You can find contacts for your local media outlets (newspaper, radio, and TV) using a website search engine.

Before contacting the media, think about what makes your story particularly newsworthy and of interest to their readers, listeners or viewers. Look out for hooks to breaking/running national or local news stories.

Phone them initially with a brief pitch of your story. Be prepared to be interviewed and photographed after you have sent your press release (see below). You should email your press release to the news team along with some photos of yourself and our campaign imagery. If you don't receive a response, don't be disheartened. Journalists are busy people juggling lots of stories. Follow up with an email or give them a call.

Press release template

Send this press release template in an email to the journalist. Do not send the text as an attachment, as it will likely end up in their "junk" folder. Before sending, please fill the sections highlighted in purple with your story. You can use the 'telling your diagnosis journey' section to help you do this.

The purpose of the press release is to persuade people to get checked when they have symptoms. The power of your personal story will encourage people to do this. What stands out about your story? Did you get checked early and have a quick journey to diagnosis? Did you not recognise your symptoms straight away and have a delayed diagnosis? What was your toughest moment in your diagnosis journey? Please include details of your individual experience in the press release.

Top tips for sharing your story with the media

  1. Call or email the media outlet making sure your story answers the six W's - who, what, where, when, why, and how. Who you are; what happened during your diagnosis experience, where and when; and why you want your story to be heard.
  2. Use our key messages to help explain why early diagnosis is so important and include a link to our Cut the Crap webpage, so people reading your story can use our online symptom checker, if they are concerned about their symptoms.
  3. Be sure to attach any photos to the email that help tell the story.
  4. If you don't receive a response, don't be disheartened. Journalists are busy people juggling lots of stories. Follow up with another email or look for a phone number to give them a ring.
  5. Remember, journalists will write your story in their own words and in the style of the newspaper or magazine. It is unlikely that you will have an opportunity to review the words and any images you share before publication. So, make sure you are happy with the information you send them to appear in print or online. 

Telling your diagnosis journey

Telling your story is a powerful way of raising awareness and influencing change. If you're wondering where to start, here are some questions you could ask yourself to help structure your story. To stop the press release becoming too long, please don't include any details of your post-diagnosis over and above answering question eleven below.

  1. When did your symptoms start?
  2. When you started having symptoms (diarrhoea, stomach pain, blood in poo), did you already know about Crohn's or Colitis?
  3. Did you link your symptoms to the same condition, or did you think they were separate things?
  4. What did you put your symptoms down to?
  5. What did you try to help manage your symptoms?
  6. In those early days, did it ever cross your mind to see a GP about your symptoms?
  7. Was there anything else that put you off seeing a GP?
  8. When did you decide you had to go to a healthcare professional?
  9. Was it easy to talk about your symptoms? Did you know all the symptoms that you needed to talk about?
  10. Would a symptom checker have helped you? If so, how?
  11. Looking back, how does your life before diagnosis and treatment compare to your life now?
  12. What is the one message that you would like to give to your younger self?
  13. How did Crohn's & Colitis UK help you?

Thanks for adding your voice to our early diagnosis campaign by speaking up about your experience of early diagnosis. Your story could inspire someone to get checked and start a conversation that changes their life.

Hannah, National Campaigner


Your story is more likely to be featured if you send some photos related to your diagnosis. Photos that show you before, during and after your diagnosis can be impactful. Make you sure you feel comfortable with these photos being made public. If you have one, send a photo of you in a Crohn's & Colitis UK t-shirt. It is good to send a variety of images that illustrate your story. Include both landscape and portrait images as this allows flexibility with the layout of your story. Publications need high resolution images of 1MB or more. You can also send them our Cut the Crap campaign images to support your story.

Preparing for an interview

  • Ask the journalist if the interview will be live or pre-recorded.
  • If possible, find out what questions might be asked so you can prepare. This can help you think about any potentially difficult questions. If, on the day, the journalist asks you something too personal, you can just tell them you do not want to answer the question.
  • Try not to over-rehearse your answers. Use your own words and do not write down a lengthy sentence that does not sound like you if you read it aloud. Imagine you are telling a family member, friend, acquaintance about your journey and why early diagnosis is so important.
  • Think about what inspired you to get involved and share that with the interviewer - you may inspire others!
  • It's okay not to know the answers to everything, remember you can always direct people to the Crohn's & Colitis UK website to find in-depth information about the conditions and our work. 
  • Here are some additional key messages and facts you can use in your interview:
    • Right now, more than 500,000 people in the UK are living with a lifelong disease that many people have never heard of. Crohn's and Colitis cause ulcers and inflammation in the gut and there is no cure. Symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach pain, and blood in poo. People may not have all these symptoms and not all the time.
    • These are lifelong conditions with no cure. They affect very part of life from energy levels to mental health to personal relationships.
    • It is taking too long for people living with Crohn's and Colitis to be diagnosed. 1 in 4 of those who responded to Crohn's & Colitis UK's last patient survey in 2019 waited more than a year to be diagnosed, limiting their ability to lead a full and normal life. This also comes at a huge cost to people's health, and to the NHS, with 2 in 5 people admitted to A&E at least once before their diagnosis. 
    • Crohn's & Colitis UK has launched a public health campaign, Cut the Crap: Check for Crohn's & Colitis to encourage people living with symptoms to take notice of their symptoms and check for Crohn's and Colitis. The campaign features a symptom checker, developed in partnership with GPs and gastroenterologists. In just 30 seconds, you will know what to do, including whether you should contact your GP, what symptoms you should talk to your GP about, and what you can expect from your appointment.
    • Crohn's & Colitis UK is also working with politicians and healthcare professionals to improve services so that people can be diagnosed without delay. You can lend your support here: Campaigning for early diagnosis

Letters to editors

You can always consider writing a 'Letter to Editor' to get your story published in a newspaper. Letters are written by members of the public, as opposed to newspaper staff. They can give you an opportunity to share your opinion in response to an issue or view offered on the paper. Keep your letter short (100 words) and to the point. By reading letters previously published by the paper, you can get a feel for stories they like to share.

If you are successful in pitching your story to the media, do let us know at


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We know it can be difficult to live with, or support someone living with these conditions. But you’re not alone. We provide up-to-date, evidence-based information and can support you to live well with Crohn’s or Colitis.

Our helpline team can help by:

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