Five Good Ideas about how non-profits can benefit from the media revolution
For years, news media were the gatekeepers to the public agenda. Anyone hoping to shape the debate on a given issue had to pitch stories to journalists, submit occasional op-eds, and hope for impact. But the current media revolution is turning the tables: Audiences now demand deeper coverage of complex stories at the very moment when media have fewer specialized staff to deliver it. Non-profits that know how to help news media cover a public issue – and who can undertake those collaborations responsibly – are now in a better position than ever to engage the public.
In this session, Rob Steiner shared five good ideas for non-profits that want to create new collaborations with media.
Five Good Ideas
- Think small (media). Rather than focusing primarily on major media players, consider them just one part of a portfolio of media with which you can build relationships. Smaller media covering your speciality, professions, communities, ethnicities, and industries are the very heart of this portfolio. And they need you.
- Do deals. Instead of just pitching story ideas or experts, pitch a real partnership with media that need your help. Do deals to help media partners cover your issues (but not your organization) consistently, and deeply.
- Be a newsroom. Create a simple, small process within your organization for identifying important, untold stories in your field. You might add 10 or 15 minutes to your regular staff meeting and board meetings and task one executive with managing the conversation and synthesizing ideas.
- Train staff to do journalism the way we train first aid. Using a simple template, train staff to identify and pitch untold stories of interest to media. Any organization will likely have people who want to do more: Direct them to training to write, podcast, shoot video, build websites, etc., and engage them.
- Train clients to be reporters. Clients of your organization can be especially great reporters on their issues – and the experience can be especially empowering to people who feel marginalized. Identify clients with an interest, and offer them the same training you are offering to staff, with a particular focus on helping those who may be vulnerable protect themselves as they do the work.
Five Good Resources
- To stay abreast of changes in Canadian media, and links to training: www.J-source.ca
- To stay abreast of changes in large and local Canadian newspapers, including data on circulation http://www.newspaperscanada.ca
- To stay abreast of innovations in US media, which you can help bring to your Canadian partners: PBS Mediashift, http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/ especially http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/business/hyper-local/ and http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/business
- For tips and training in journalism skills: https://www.journalism.co.uk/skills/s7/
- To understand the changing nature of public trust and how to cultivate it, Edelman’s 2015 Trust Barometer: http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/2015-edelman-trust-barometer/trust-and-innovation-edelman-trust-barometer/global-results/