Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Getting coverage in the media: Ideas and action for the Green Party

Sometimes it seems like the mainstream media can only count to two! Once a third candidate or third party gets involved in a race, they either tune out, or resort to formulaic coverage that does little to educate and inform the public on their choices at the ballot box.

The solution is for Green Party candidates to take responsibility and seize the initiative for their own media goals. There are many ways to do this, and I will present two pieces of information.

This article from the Independent Political Report contains quite a bit of useful practical information about how to get your message out. Noted Green Party strategist David Schwab comments "The internet is constantly giving us inexpensive, increasingly effective ways of getting our message out without having to go through the traditional gatekeepers. Blogs, videos on youtube and vimeo, live streaming services, social media like twitter and facebook, and other technologies give Greens the opportunity to take their message directly to supporters, but for now, these opportunities have been severely underutilized."

Never has a truer statement been written! The simple rule to follow is: if the media will not give you coverage, give YOURSELF coverage via your website, blog, youtube account, facebook, and twitter. These tools are free, easy to use, and available to anyone.

More good advice in the same article: "In many instances, they do not have a media strategy adequate to their informational environment. Commenters suggested an invigoration and expansion of independent Green media networks, as well as greater outreach to and pressure on wider and more influential outlets, but they also noted that without significant output from the campaigns themselves, these networks cannot be put to good use. Thus, it was suggested that campaigns produce more press releases and short web videos, engage in social networking, hold press conferences or rallies etc. One might also consider the possibility of reaching out to other third party and independent groups and campaigns."

Very, very good advice! Engage your audience with short, compelling media bursts - audio, video, and text.

Shifting gears....

Rich Whitney, candidate for governor in Illinois, continues to get great coverage from Huffington Post. Whitney brings innovative ideas to the table regarding Illinois state budget woes "...Whitney has presented a comprehensive plan, incorporating ideas from Republicans, Democrats and independent budget analysts. The plan would generate nearly $16 billion in additional revenues, generating a budget surplus of over $2 billion."

As Greens we have a real challenge getting our message out in the media, but with smart use of existing and (mostly) free tools, we can reach out and connect with voters who are ready to hear fresh, new ideas!

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