Media Savvy Workshop — How Peace and Justice Groups Gan Get Media Coverage

This morning I attended a workshop at the UU Church on 22nd St. to help social justice groups learn how to connect with media for better coverage of their events.

I applaud the representatives of the Media Companies and the Radio Station that were on the panel.

  • Amanda Shauger, News Director of KXCI.
  • Cara Rene, Senor Editor at the Tucson Citizen.
  • Tony Paniagua, KUAT
  • Keith Bem….. (somehow I misplaced his last name) Assignment Editor KVOA Channel 4

Some very good information is disseminated in forums such as these and today was no exception.

My impressions and thoughts and the usual bitch gripe grumble moan stuff follows my notes (or Live Blogging) from the workshop.

Workshop notes:

Leila Pine introduced.

There were handouts from KXCI & Tucson Citizen.

Star not invited. For sake of peaceful information flow. (hmmm……)

Assignment editor for KVOA Channel 4
Keith B.- previously news photographer and now assignment editor.

Everyone sends him everything on the desk.
Send him email.
Don’t send 4 page email
make it short and sweet.
Here’s someone we want to get in front of the news camera.
Be flexible. It is all about managing resources.

nonprofit who just wants to show yourself off to the local community.
Televisions aim is to tell a story.
They need a real person.
not just mayor and fire chief. It is about your friends and my friends. It is about people.
Loosely related national organization. If someone is coming through.
Tell him everything he needs to know.
Submit an event to their community calendar.

KUAT Channel 6 public media
Tony Paniagua

Aside: Tucson Protest “March on the 5th Anniversary went well in Tucson.” NPR(picked up from KUAT) aired this before the march. LOL.
from Columbia, S.A. to Phoenix
1992 came to KVOA
Houston NBC. (left due to emphasis on crime and shooting and other bad news.)
Year off in Florida.
Then KUAT.
People don’t watch boring stuff.
often hears, You are part of the corporate media.
No political guidelines from above.
They do not want to honor a board of directors in their pieces. They want people whose lives have been changed by the organization.
VISUALS — need visuals
Have people with video capabilities. Be concise and focused. Good sound bytes. you will get labeled as good or bad.
Talk to real people.
passion, timely, available.
I want to talk to —– about x in my neighborhood. No “To whom it may concern.”
aside: KUAT is governed by the University of Arizona Board of Regents.

Cara Rene– Senior Editor for Tucson Citizen.
10 yrs. there
film degree art… journalism u of a
oversees features, data desk marketing partnerships
1870 founded longest running (138 years) year older than star.
Tucson Citizen and Az Star owned by sep companies
TC owned by gannet*
joint operating agreement with Lee Media
sep. editorial. from star.
don’t hold grudges. try again.
citizen is very very local.
changes — in the past year. lots of hits on web site.
they are doing news 24 7
they will put up a single paragraph and add to it later in the day.
also do video, audio, slide show,
younger people are the target
know who we are.
be aware of who is with the paper
know the editors as well as the reporters.
reporters – editors – senior eds – managers.
DON’T SEND paper they want to be green. EMAIL. They don’t like Faxes.
(anthrax changed everything about paper handling.)
It is IMPACT —
RPs real people
PRelease – follow up with phone call.
features will preview stuff.
news will cover events happening now.
can ask to visit with someone for larger issue
be proactive
upload your own press rel
tucson events
letters to editor
Guest opinions
governor comes in for editorial board meetings. (mark kimball) asst. ed. oversees opinion part of paper
many ways to get coverage. they are tucsonans too.
city desk 8 – 5
bullet points
date and time in subject line

Amanda Shauger, is News Director at KXCI Community Radio 91.3
part time pd. position
penn state alum
cook at catering company
dj training class a few years ago
began subbing in music programming. 91.3
most produced by volunteers
grass roots media workshop learned lots of techniques how to do features
3 years ago started doing “30 minutes”
is her own assignment editor.
can be 3 great things happening one week and more the next
does her own editing.
very limited time
new general manager is ryan bruce from wfhb (indiana)
160 pixel wide is the preferred size of jpg if you send any images to her
new effort – news with someone to direct programming
volunteer news can be difficult, sometimes a volunteer doesn’t show, sometimes the equipment doesn’t get returned….
democracy now at noon
no phone interviews please.
needs be gripping
not fun to be stalked
reminders are good — in three days!
yerkes doesn’t do email. he will do phone interviews.
other opportunities — how to submit PSA (public service announcement)- 501c3
at any one time there are 7 psas in rotation
3 wks notice would be good
can’t do call to action 501c3
put it on the KXCI website – upload it yourself
sponsoring / partner / benefit music are good,

Leila Pine (UU moderator) added (from her journalist experience in Madison Wisconsin:
for peace vigils –get the word out via

  • moveon
  • ufpj
  • be list specific
  • know folks on other list serves – put on 2 wks in advance then one week then couple days and last minute

KOLD aired at 10 pm when local videographer noted the protest omission on 6 p.m. when Bush spoke here in march 2005

My comment: not mentioned today, but CNN aired Raging Granny arrest video of a local videographer.

My comments:

These tips and tricks given today are all well and good for nice, pre-planned social justice events that are well planned far in advance as almost all of the entities participating today require for a chance of coverage.

The advice to get to know the journalists who cover “your” beat so that you have an ear in the specific media outlest is all well and good — but at another level this bothers me as news should not have to have an “in”
to get newsworthy events covered. But corporate media does seem to cover their friends.

Chris (the Film Snob) and I were talking about how people in corporate media do not see the frames that they use as they cover issues. Example… today when Cara Rene was asked why 10 counter-protestors (freepers) get the same coverage as 60 or 300 anti-war protesters she brought up how they have to cover both sides. What she didn’t seem to realize or didn’t admit in any case is that all of the corporate media covered the counter-protesters/Bush admin view with no other perspective given voice for four years or more, and only now occasionally covers anti-war news and views even though at least 70 % of the U.S. population is against the war.

My overall impression of today’s panel is that it is good there are media corps that are willing to cover events by social actions groups. Your chance of getting news coverage if you happen to be a target of local or national police or feds and don’t want to announce your “actions” ahead of time so these groups can plan out a technicality they can use to arrest you if they so choose. I was basically told “that’s your problem.”

In summary, I wasn’t impressed… but I’m jaded. KXCI is the exception of course. They will cover local news that is outside the box/frame of what the powers that be dictate as world view.

* Gannet owns the Tucson Citizen as well as many other city and national newspapers. but it is worth noting that they also own most of the U.S. Military newspapers via the Army Times Publishing Company.

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