How to Harness Media Effectively

Dates: 25-27 October 2013

Country: UK, London

vulnerable groups 1“I have always avoided interacting with the media because I didn’t have the knowledge of how to do so. But when you know how to prepare yourself you feel safer approaching them”. This is how Amena Amer, researcher at Center for Studies of Arab and Muslim issues explains the importance of the training on  media relations held on 25 – 27 October in London.

The training was organised by the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) with an aim to help civil society organisations (CSOs) representing vulnerable groups understand better media culture. One of the objectives was explain to CSOs how to deliver their messages to the media and how to make thembe heard.

Joy Francis, experienced journalist and media trainer, helped 15 representatives of different vulnerable and other marginalized groups’ organisations such as Roma and Travellers, LGBT, young people, religious minorities, to build the capacities to communicate their messages through both traditional and social media and to challenge misperceptions and stereotypes.

The training combined presentations and practical exercises on media dynamics – how to pitch the ideas to the journalists, how to define clear CSOs’ messages, how to write a press release, engage and cultivate the relationship with media, how to do an interview and how to use the social media efficiently.

“I think the most important aspect that I have learned is how to do things – how to write press release, put up news story or do an interview”, says Amer from Center for Studies of Arab and Muslim issues.

Because of many stereotypes attached to Muslim communities, Amer had a problem communicating with media. “But when you know how to prepare yourself, you feel safer to approach them”, says Amer after three-day training organised by MDI.

The training managevulnerable groups 2d to keep participants very engaged and interested. “The fact that the attendance remained almost 100 per cent over the three days, and that includes Saturday and Sunday, is a measure of the very high quality of this training”, highlights Jenny Daly from the Irish Traveller Movement.

Although in general happy with the topics this training covered different participants had focused on different section depending on their organisations’ needs and aims.

Camilla Graham Wood, from Justice Alliance, finds that the most useful part was the work on engaging with the media and building relations with them.

Meagan Rees, who works in Youth  Business International, thinks that “this training helped her realise the importance of delivering the message across the media and how to attract reporters’ attention”.

The training is organized as part of a Europe-wide two-year “Address of Human rights – Journalism” project. It is led by the National Institute for Social Integration (NISI, Lithuania), who initiated the Media4Change movement which has been hosting training around human rights issues since 2009.

Beside MDI, partners include The Baltic Centre for Investigative Journalism Re:Baltica (Latvia); Arci Catania; TDM International (Italy); Concordia International Group (Spain); International Initiatives for Cooperation; Foundation Centre for Economic Development; and International Development Alliance (Bulgaria).

This project is partly funded by the European Commission.