Media advocacy is a way to influence decision-makers through the media outlets that matter to them such as newspapers, radio, television, newsletters, journals, magazines, and even the newer social media, like blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Good media advocacy is very effective and often, it’s free!
Our job is to get our point-of-view across through media coverage that exposes a problem we seek to fix; spotlights a solution we seek to implement; celebrates one of our advocacy allies – while tying into our advocacy goals; or challenges one of our opposing forces.
Media advocacy rarely feels like a ‘big hug’. Sometimes, when done well, it makes people really uncomfortable! It highlights a controversy and should prompt decision-makers to think (and act) differently about an issue that is important to you.
Media advocacy is not about getting your name or your organization’s name into the press. It’s about getting your issue into the press in a way that provokes new or different thinking. And, it’s about getting that issue into the press that is read, watched, and listened to by your target decision-makers. RI Citizens for the Arts understands that funding for the arts is in jeopardy during these difficult economic times and is pursuing media advocacy to influence decision-makers to see the arts and design sectors as a critical part of the state’s economic engine. To that end, RI Citizens for the Arts is framing the arts funding issue as being tied to jobs and the local economy. Our media advocacy message must be tailored to meet the current interests of Rhode Island decision-makers, and the messengers must include those outside of the arts and design sectors.
There are many ways and reasons to reach out to the media, and advocates for the arts, design and creative sectors should use media advocacy as a means of influencing key decision-makers. For the sake of credibility, we should engage in media outreach when we have something that is actually newsworthy. When we get our issues covered by relevant media in a way that supports our advocacy goals by framing the problem or our proposed solution our campaigns are more likely to succeed. Media matters. Follow the rules.
- Media Advisory Sent 3-4 days before an event, a media advisory alerts and invites the media. It should provide just enough teaser information to get the press to attend - the logistical who, what, where, when and why.
- Press Release Distributed the day of an event or can embargoed a day or two before, a press release should include most important details of your message, including data and quotes.
- Letter to the Editor and Op-Eds Usually submitted in response to something that has been covered in the news recently. Offers a personal or professional perspective on the issue. Op-Eds are longer and may have two authors.