Points to Remember and Ideas to Try

To make your press more effective, you might want to try the following ideas:
  • Every time you do something, you should alert the press. If you’re holding a public meeting, invite the press. If you’re having a fundraiser, invite the press. If a local official does something you don’t agree with, alert the press.
  • Take out an ad in the local paper with a list of the public concerns. Include contact information and phone numbers of elected officials. Remember to take the ad out more than once in case someone misses it the first time.
  • Create a local web site or a blog and publicize it to the media. One group did a press release about their new site and many media outlets published information on it.
  • Find out if any local universities or colleges have newspapers and/or radio stations. If so, develop a relationship with the people there and try to get them involved in the issue. Make sure to send all press releases to them. Try to interest journalism students in writing articles about the ILO and getting them published in the paper. University students can be a great resource. You may also want to try doing the same with the local community or co-operative radio stations, if there happens to be one in your area.
  • Use people of all ages from your group to represent you. The younger and older, the better. Recently, 11 and 12-year-old youngsters made a trip to the Canadian Minister of Agriculture to express their concerns. This resulted in extensive media coverage.
  • Avoid personal verbal attacks on public officials or the owner or operator of the proposed facility. Do not raise your voice or show anger in public.
  • Work constantly to get the group’s message out to the public. For example, encourage different people to write letters to newspaper commentary sections, have everyone in your group phone radio shows, talk shows, ask questions at community meetings, etc. Better yet, have spokespeople get booked as guests on local radio stations.
  • Just as you need to prepare information booklets or packets of material for elected officials in order to educate them on the issue, you need to do the same for reporters. Don’t assume local officials, or the press, understand the problems with factory farms. Gather information on the impacts of ILOs from the Beyond Factory Farming web site and educate others by speaking with and distributing information to them. Make sure your local government administrator has copies so information can be put on file for public access.
  • It is very important to clip and save all news stories about the ILO. File month by month. This can be useful in verifying promises made and promises broken. Do not throw the clippings away.
  • Create a group name and logo. Use them in stories and at events.
  • Use creative techniques like street theatre to grab the media’s attention and get people of all ages involved.
  • Announce events with public service announcements (PSAs). Media outlets provide this free service to community groups wishing to advertise their events. Your local radio stations, for example, will likely have an answering machine designated to record community announcements (such as information sessions, rallies, etc.) that they will later air, sometimes several times leading up to the event.