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Communications Support

Help and advice relating to media engagement, copyright and more.

The diocesan Communications Team can support you in many ways, including with your engagement with external media – with stories both good and bad.

They can often advise on issues including copyright (particularly if you want to reproduce pictures) and data protection, and how to manage media requests to use church premises as film or TV locations.

Go to the Communications page to contact the team for advice and support.

Local Media

Spreading the good news of what is happening in your church is an essential part of being a positive and active presence in your local community. One of the ways of doing this is getting your stories published in the local press and broadcast media channels by sending a press release. 

It’s easier than you might think, but familiarising yourself with these simple guidelines and putting together a good press release will help you to get your stories out in to the local community. 

Helpful Links:


  • Include all contact details of your organisation, including address, emails and phone numbers of relevant people.
  • State the date the press release was written and when it can be used from – most of the time this is immediately.
  • Give the release a title or headline. This can be snappy and attention grabbing but also needs to be relevant; if in doubt just stating what’s happening. When it comes to the press release, clarity is more important than creativity.
  • Be factual not subjective (opinions such as “fantastic” belong in a quote from a named individual).
  • The first paragraph should contain all essential information, who, what, where, when, why and how.
  • Organise your paragraphs so that they can be deleted from the bottom up, while keeping all the remaining key information intact.
  • Where possible aim for a human-interest angle, such as stories that show community value and are focused on new beginnings; things coming to an end; celebrations, achievements; important decisions etc.
  • Try to include a quote from someone (see above) and some photos that inject some emotion into the information.
  • Signal the end of the content of your press release with ‘Ends’.
  • For extra non-essential information include a ‘Notes to Editors’ section. Here you can draw attention to any images and give background information and any further contact details.
  • When completed, email the press release to local media, whose contact details are now readily found online.


In 2018 The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaced the previous law on data protection (the Data Protection Act 1998) and gave individuals more rights and protection in how their personal data is used by organisations. It is administered by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Parishes are also governed by the law like any other charity or organisation. This page provides you with guidance, templates and a checklist to help navigate its requirements 

You can find key information by visiting the Parish Resources website.

You can view or download the Diocese of York Safeguarding Privacy here. (attachment Safeguarding Privacy Notice)

Managing bad news in the media

How we deal with crises is often more important than how they came about. If you find yourself in a tricky situation and are being contacted by the media please contact the Diocesan Communications Team for advice on 01904 699530 or


If you get a call from a Reporter or Journalist that makes you feel uncomfortable:

  • Always be polite and calm.
  • Ask the reporter for as much information as you can about the situation and exactly what they are looking for from you.
  • If possible, politely decline to comment and refer then to someone else who can help; e.g. the Diocesan Communications Team.

You can find key information by visiting the Parish Resources website.

You can view or download the Diocese of York Safeguarding Privacy here. (attachment Safeguarding Privacy Notice)

Copyright and Licences

Copyright is an intellectual property right given to the creators of original musical, literary and dramatic works. Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) is a company that helps churches stay on the right side of copyright law by providing licences for using music, video, photocopying and more.

Many people are unsure about what images can be used on a church website, newsletter or service sheet. The answer is simple – if you don’t have explicit permission to use an image, don’t use it. 

If someone in your church has taken a picture and is happy for you to use it, that’s fine, but if you have found the image online or by using Google, you almost certainly don’t have permission to use it.

There are some websites with copyright free images, including: