In working with the media it is important to:
- Develop clear messages, starting with one simple core message that leads into more specific, tailored messages for different audiences.
- Use real life stories and short quotes to bring to life the challenges faced by people directly affected and locally relevant.
- Use precise and powerful language - use facts and numbers accurately and creatively.
- Allow the audience to reach their own understanding as too much information may cause you to lose your audience’s attention or give the impression that you are preaching.
- Encourage the audience to take action and offer straightforward suggestions such as support the sexual harassment bill in Parliament” or “sign our petition”.
- Present a possible solution and keep it simple. For instance, “The local government needs to show its commitment to migrant workers by providing funding for inspecting factories to make sure they are safe and free from harassment.”
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter and blogs) are very effective means to quickly disseminate messages. Twitter users can disseminate very similar messages for different audiences and is increasingly influencing media coverage. One example of the successful use of social media is the ITUC 12x 12 campaign to increase the number of government ratifications of the new ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. It was very successful in keeping unions and domestic workers’ organizations, as well as individuals, informed of progress on achieving the campaign objectives and advertising successes. See http://www.ituc-csi.org/domestic-workers-12-by-12
- Compile a media list to identify all relevant media outlets (newspapers, radio stations, TV, on-line blogs).
- Prepare and keep updated a media contacts list so that media releases, research finding or other stories can be quickly and easily sent out. Include organizations that may include the information in their mail outs or websites.
Draft a media release or a letter to the Editor outlining your ‘story’; this can be in response to the release of survey data, an event or a policy decision. Send this out one week before the event and aim to contact sympathetic journalists who will give coverage to your story. Ensure that the media release is no longer than one-page and covers specific and clear messages, includes quotes and gives clear recommendations.