Why do some organizations in a movement seeking social change gain extensive national newspaper coverage? To address the question, we innovate in theoretical and empirical ways. First, we elaborate a theoretical argument that builds from the political mediation theory of movement consequences and incorporates the social organization of newspaper practices. This media and political mediation model integrates political and media contexts and organizations’ characteristics and actions. With this model, we hypothesize two main routes to coverage: one that includes changes in public policy and involves policy‐engaged, well‐resourced, and inclusive organizations and a second that combines social crises and protest organizations. Second, we appraise these arguments with the first analysis of the national coverage of all organizations in a social movement over its career: 84 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights and AIDS‐related organizations in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal from 1969 to 2010. These analyses go beyond previous research that provides either snapshots of many organizations at one point in time or overtime analyses of aggregated groups of organizations or individual organizations. The results of both historical and fuzzy set qualitative comparative analyses support our media and political mediation model.