Many local media outlets, including TV news and newspapers, are interested in local crime. Publicity about cold cases often produces new leads - one detective once said about the Rosie Tapia case, "If it were up to me, I'd have a 24-hour Rosie channel." Also, law enforcement sometimes tell the media more than they tell the family. Although every outlet is different, there are a few concepts we've learned in hundreds of interactions with local and national media. (And if you're still nervous or have questions, feel free to call us (844-247-TIPS/844-247-8477). Our media-savvy volunteers will be happy to talk you through it.)
If your local media have an ongoing series of crime- or justice-related reports like "The Justice Files" in Utah, they may be interested in any local cold case. Otherwise, they might be more interested if there is something "new" about the case, such as an anniversary of the victim's death/disappearance, bringing in of a cold case organization or investigator, an expert talking about new technologies that might pertain to the case, offering of a reward, launching of a social media page about the case, teaming up with victims' families, death of a parent who never received answers, solving of another case with similarities, etc.
Try to arrange for a family member to talk, or a friend, cold case organization, or investigator. TV news in particular needs a face to humanize the story. Many people are nervous about being on TV, but reporters covering cold cases are trying to help; they are usually friendly and will often allow "retakes" if you misspeak or hair blows across your face, .
TV news often want to shoot at a location meaningful to the crime, particularly local sites. Make a list of potential locations, such as a victim's house, or where a body was found, or where the victim was last seen, to allow the reporter flexibility to choose the best shot.
The Associated Press covers local stories but also distributes stories to out-of-state subscribers. As a result, an interesting local case may receive national attention simply through AP coverage. That coverage, in turn, can generate interest by other national media.
If contacted by the media about a cold case, respond ASAP. They are often on a deadline, and once it has passed they may have to publish whatever they have and move on to another story.
Most news media are very aware of libel and slander laws, so they often will not broadcast things you might say that could lead to a lawsuit. If you're concerned about a lawsuit, check your homeowner's insurance (many policies cover defamation), or consult a lawyer. In most states, you can't be sued for stating opinions, particularly if you provide the reasons for your opinion. You also can't be sued for stating "feelings," such as "I think," or "I believe," etc.