Tame The Media Beast
Recently I had the privilege of media training a group of women in who work for Anglicare in Canberra.
These hardworking, courageous women are on the front of line of Anglicare’s many valuable social justice programs, such as finding emergency foster care for traumatised children; running mentorship programs for troubled youths; and supporting young carers – kids who look after their disabled parents and siblings.
When I was a journalist, I told myself I was lucky to meet so many interesting people. But in hindsight, as a time-poor, deadline-driven reporter, I was barely skimming the surface of understanding.
Now I have the luxury of spending a whole day with a small group, and digging deep to unearth the challenges they face.
It was only after a lengthy interview with one young, community worker from Wagga, I discovered her successful youth mentorship was about to run out of funding.
“You mean a program that costs a fraction of running a detention centre and helps almost 90 per cent of kids stay out of trouble is about to be cut?”
“Sure,” she shrugged. This woman was used to the reality of programs running out of money.
With my journalist’s cap on I realised that this was the ‘real’ story the media would be interested in.
A staggering 90 per cent of kids, who stay on the mentorship program, stay out of trouble. In contrast, 66 per cent of those who leave a juvenile detention centre, with no on-going support will commit a crime within the year.
Why aren’t we shouting this from the rooftops?
Thanks to media training, this Anglicare community worker is now armed with some powerful key messages and can pro-actively seek media attention. If she delivers her message with passion and confidence, she may even attract investment from local businesses to keep the mentor program running.
In this way she’ll be using the media to her advantage rather than running for cover when a reporter rings.
At the end of the day’s workshop, the overwhelming response from the group was that the media isn’t a ‘scary beast to avoid’ – rather, if you understand what a journalist is looking for you can ‘feed them stories’ to your advantage.
And that’s why I am privileged to be a media trainer.
Learn to tame the media beast and make it your friend.