OJJPAC: Media

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Community Activist's Media Communications:

 Raising Issues & Responding to News Coverage

Don't get mad -- take action! You can make a difference!

Contacting the media is critical to bringing attention to the real effects of illegal immigration in Ohio and the nation. As a citizen activist, take a few minutes to make a few short calls or send brief notes or letters to your local, state or national media organizations. (The above links will give you the contact information you need.)

Your calls and letter to the media don't have to be long or complicated -- just state your position and a fact or two that supports your position. Calls and letters from advocates have a cumulative effect, so even if your letter or call does not get published or acted upon, it may help make an issue "news-worthy" enough, to result in someone else being interviewed or another activist's letter to be published.

All politicians -- Democrats, Republicans, and third parties, monitor the news to gauge public opinion -- so when your contact the media about illegal immigration it elevates the issue in public importance. Here are a few tips to make your call and letters more effective.

 

Do's and don'ts when contacting the media

Do's

  • Do put your key point in the first sentence.

  • Do keep your comments clear, factual and as brief as possible (no more than a few paragraphs unless you are writing an opinion editorial).

  • Do be polite and professional.

  • Do edit your letters for publication, and submit documentation if refuting a "fact."

  • Do include your contact information if your letter is for publication. At a minimum, place your first and last name, address, and phone number (day and evening) in your letter. Before the media publishes a letter, they will want to contact you to verify it's authenticity.

  • Do type your letter or write clearly.

  • Do mind your manners and keep your comments in good taste.

  • Do reference the specific new article or segment that you are responding too by topic, headline, and date of publication or broadcast.

  • Do submit letter's to the editor to as many news markets in your state (or nationally) as your time allows.

  • Do keep your comments relevant and interesting.

Don'ts

  • Don't rant. Keep your comments focused on the facts.

  • Don't exaggerate.

  • Don't ramble.

  • Don't attack the media (i.e. editor, reporter, columnist, anchor, etc.)

 

 

Do you think the media is biased?   Read what you can do about it!

Before declaring that the "media" is biased, start a log and document what you believe to be inaccurate and misleading comments. This may include half-truths and failing to report key information (i.e., immigration status).

If your log demonstrates a pattern of biased reporting over a significant period of time, you may want to request a meeting to discuss the issue with the management or editorial board of the newspaper or broadcast station. If you are granted an appointment, bring along your log and explain why you believe their news is biased. Ideally, share your information with other activists in your community and bring them along to the meeting too -- there is strength in numbers. In any event, show up prepared -- know what you will say, have your supporting documentation, and offer potential remedies.

After the meeting, quickly follow up with the appropriate correspondence and or phone calls. Always thank your hosts for the opportunity to speak with them. If the media outlet ignores you, or the bias is not corrected, you may want to determine if you have other options to present your grievances (such as filing a FCC complaint or contacting an industry association ombudsman).

   

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