Thursday, December 27, 2007

The media

I was speaking with a caregiver today who called about a television crew coming to film some caregivers in the area. She asked if CWS would want to go down. I told her that frankly, it seemed that it was a programme about the work of the caregivers in the estate - and it should stay that way, since the focus ought to be about what they did.

I did ask her however why the crew was coming, and she mentioned that she wasn't sure and that another caregiver was arranging it. I was telling her that I was sure that the caregiver would weigh the pros and cons of appearing on television, but that it is important to have gone through the thought process.

Now I'm no media consultant, but there are some simple pointers to think about when deciding to do an interview/go to the press. For one thing, what do you hope to achieve by appearing on television/in the newspapers, etc? As with any publicity, there are pros and cons. You need to be very focused on your aims - is it to bring up a certain issue? If so, what is it? If you can convey it to the press in a short, snappy way, that is best obviously. If you can't explain it in a pithy manner, then the journalist or reporter will need to sieve through all the information that you have in order to understand what you are trying to say. And it may not be what you are trying to put across.

Also remember what you think is important may not be what the press decides to cover. Say you want to talk about TNRM and mention that there are a lot of complainants in your neighbourhood who are unreasonable in your opinion. The reporter may feel this is a more interesting story - and it could become a story on neighbourhood disputes, rather than on TNRM.

Next, remember that there is the possibility of a backlash. Some people will think what you do is wonderful - others may not. The worry is that among those others may be some who complain about the cats. Or a third group who decide that they might dump THEIR cats on you because you'll care for them.

Do speak with the journalist - you can ask as well to check your quotes to ensure that they are put in the right context before it goes to print. Journalists are usually very accommodating about this.

At the end of the day, be clear about what you want to say and WHY you want to say it.



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