Media coverage of the complexes and multifaceted issue of domestic violence ranges from helpful to harmful. To successfully educate the public about domestic violence, encourage them to take action to prevent or reduce domestic violence, or ask them to support our efforts, we must work with the media both in response to specific cases and as a proactive measure.
Below you will find information about how people use media today, how to work more effectively with the media, approaches to developing effective media messages, preparing survivors to talk to the media and other resources.
Understanding the Media Today
The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get news on a typical day including national TV, local TV, the Internet, local newspapers, radio, and national newspapers.1 Overall, 82% of all American adults ages 18 and older use the Internet or email at least occasionally, and 67% do so on a typical day.2 News media help shape public opinion and can focus public attention or increase public awareness on certain issues. To successfully educate the public about domestic violence, encourage them to take action to prevent or reduce domestic violence, or ask them to support our efforts, we must work with the media both in response to specific cases and as a proactive measure.
There are many ways to use the media to disseminate messages about domestic violence to the American public. These include: television and radio news programs; talk shows; newspaper and magazine articles, feature stories, editorials, columns, letters-to the-editor and guest editorials; stories in community and ethnic or specialty newspapers; public service announcements (PSAs); and social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and blog hosting sites, among many others.
Working with Media
Engaging with various media outlets can be challenging at times. The resources and materials provided here are intended to enhance that process by helping advocates be proactive, prepared and knowledgeable.
Developing Your Message: 3-Legged Stool Talking Points Forms
Before you or someone you designate participates in an interview, decide on your message. Identify two or three talking points that you most want to make. Each talking point should be clear and brief - no more than two complete sentences. Make your messages compelling. As much as possible, use colorful words. People respond better to things they are familiar with, so use examples, analogies and contemporary references, whenever appropriate. Tangible numbers speak volumes. Say "one in four" rather than citing a huge number. Sample 3-Legged Stool Talking Points Forms are provided below for your use.
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