Five Good Ideas ®

Talking to the media

Published on 13/04/2010

Some of the most creative problem-solving in Canada is going on in non-profit organizations. But the public seldom hears about these efforts. As a journalist who has been covering the non-profit sector for more than decade, Carol Goar attempts to explain why some of the best initiatives don’t show up on the radar screens of reporters, editors, broadcasters and producers.

The media are partly to blame. But so are non-profit leaders who don’t understand why their efforts are not considered newsworthy or how journalists choose among the many stories competing for space and airtime.

Carol’s good ideas offer five bridges across this communication gap.

She hopes her presentation also generates a thoughtful exchange about how the media and the non-profit sector can do a better job of showing Canadians how essential a well-developed network of non-profit organizations is in creating strong communities and a healthy, inclusive society.

Read Carol’s speaking notes.

Five Good Ideas

  1. Why is your message important to the public?
  2. Journalists aren’t publicity agents.
  3. Get to know who covers your sector.
  4. Talk about the lives you’re changing and the difference you’re making.
  5. Remember that reporters ask questions.

Some Good Resources

  1. Any daily newspaper, community newspaper, ethic newspaper, local television or radio station. Try to identify who, if anyone shows a consistent interest in social justice, the environment, culture or amateur sport.
  2. Here are a couple of recent examples of effective storytelling in the Star by Carol Goar:
  3. Pitching Your Story to the Media: This workshop with Jennifer Lewington and Julia Howell explored distilling complex stories into effective news items. Learn practical tips for speaking to media.

Carol Goar

Carol Goar began her career as an economics reporter at the Ottawa Citizen, then moved to Parliament Hill as a reporter for the Canadian Press, the Toronto Star, and Maclean’s magazine. The Star invited her back to be its national affairs columnist and she has stayed at the newspaper ever since. After ten years Carol moved to Washington to become United States bureau chief, and she finally returned to Toronto as editorial page editor. In her columns, she tried to bring attention to neglected issues and highlight the efforts of those striving to make a difference. Carol retired in early 2016.

Carol Goar began her career as an economics reporter at the Ottawa Citizen, then moved to Parliament Hill as a reporter for the Canadian Press, the Toronto Star, and Maclean’s magazine. The Star invited her back to be its national affairs columnist and she has stayed at the newspaper ever since. After ten years Carol moved to Washington to become United States bureau chief, and she finally returned to Toronto as editorial page editor. In her columns, she tried to bring attention to neglected issues and highlight the efforts of those striving to make a difference. Carol retired in early 2016.