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TAKING THE GAP MEDIA TOOLKIT

A MEDIA HANDBOOK FOR NGOS AND CBOS

Norwegian Council for Africa

How to get media-attention and reach audiences with a message


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Patrik Eklof - Translation Overseer (NCA) Ellen Hansen - Input, advice and encouragement (NCA) Rosieda Shabodien (GAP) for assisting in the final edit and to all GAP staff for their contribution.

Thanks to the following people who contributed to the training course in which this tool kit was explored for adaptation: Runar Malkenes – Course Convenor (NCA) Dorothy Ntone - Course Convenor (GAP) Tanya Bosch – (Bush Radio) - Radio facilitator & notes on radiotips (Chapter 5) Elias Ngalo – (INCA Productions) Camera coach Gabrielle Le Roux (Women’s Media Watch) - Campaign input Bukelwa Voko (Mediaworks) - TV presentation coach

The publication of this media toolkit has been made possible through funding from:

THE NORWEGIAN COUNCIL FOR AFRICA

This Media Handbook may be reproduced, used and shared with full acknowledgements of the Gender Advocacy Programme. Gender Advocacy Programme 7th Floor, Ruskin House, 2 Roeland Street Cape Town 8001 Tel: 27-21 465 0197/8 Fax: 27-21 465 0089 E-mail: genap@sn.apc.org


CONTE NT S FORWARD

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION

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1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4

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Information is Power A Simple Model of Communication Opinion Leaders The Agenda Function

CHAPTER 2: DIFFERENT KINDS OF MEDIA 2.1 South African Media in Transformation 2.2 Media size and sectors 2.3 Using the Media

CHAPTER 3: YOU AND THE JOURNALIST 3.1 The Work Place and the Journalist 3.2 About local media institutions 3.3 You as Public Relations Officer

CHAPTER 4: VARIOUS FORMS OF INFORMATION 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4

News Comment Reportage Background Information

CHAPTER 5: GETTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9

Forms of Information The Press Release The Press Conference The Interview Reader Contributions Tip-off Advertisements Audio visual information Public Relations Campaign

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CHAPTER 6: PRODUCING YOUR OWN MEDIA 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7

Ready, Steady, Print - A Short Look at Printed Matter An Idea and an Estimate Manuscript and Layout First Proof and Rough Page-Making Page-making and Page Proof The Printer’s Distribution

MEDIA CONTACT LIST

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FFF O R E W O R D O R E W O R D OREWORD

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his toolkit is designed to give practical advice to those working in public relations in non-governmental and community based organisations in South Africa. It could also be useful to any organisations involved in lobbying and advocacy work who wish to use media as a tool and to make their presence felt in the mass media market. In an environment where competition for resources is intensified, NGO’s and CBO’s increasingly need to develop their public profiles. In small organisations, it is often the director or co-ordinator and sometimes even project staff that have to play the Public Relations / Media Officer role without any prior experience in the field. This toolkit targets those who have little or no experience in journalism or public relations. We hope however, that experienced people will also be able to benefit from the information in this toolkit and use it as a handbook. The original Norwegian version was published by the Norwegian Council for Africa (NCA) in co-operation with Latin America Groups. NCA funded the production of this toolkit for South African audiences in the fields of journalism and public relations. The original authors, Runar Malkenes and Olav Rokseth are both experienced in the fields of journalism and public relations. This version was translated for the Gender Advocacy Programme (GAP) which ran the media training course “Taking the GAP” in December 1998 in co-operation with NCA. It was adapted for South African conditions and edited by Dorothy Ntone, GAP’s Media Officer and communications consultant.

NORWEGIAN COUNCIL FOR AFRICA

The Norwegian Council for Africa (NCA) is a small NGO with a history of being at the forefront of the Norwegian Anti-apartheid movement. At the most, the organisation had more than 20 local branches run by volunteers and activists around the country. It was quoted on a weekly basis in the newspapers, and people even in the remotest areas would have a sense of the controversies of buying South African goods in the grocery store down the corner, or tanking at Shell. Today, we have no more local groups, the organisation is smaller, but our scope of information and advocacy has been extended to the whole of Africa. When the history of the Norwegian Council for Africa is written these days, the most striking lesson of this little, but to times most influential NGO, is the information strategies and channels it has been advocating throughout its 30-year history. Some of these strategies can be of universal value, and this tool-kit could be a means towards that end. The Norwegian Council for Africa (NCA) is proud to be a partner and supporter of Gender Advocacy Programme (GAP) and of supporting the objective of improving women’s livelihoods and power of advocacy in South Africa. “Bridging the GAP” means communicating. The media can be a tool to get the message out!

ELLEN HANSEN (Head of Information - NCA)

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FFF O R E W O R D O R E W O R D OREWORD

GENDER ADVOCACY PROGRAMME The Gender Advocacy Programme (GAP) is a non-profit, independent gender advocacy and lobbying organisation based in the Western Cape where we originated as a grassroots initiative. Our mission is to bridge the GAP between women in civil society and structures of governance and to increase the participation of women in policy formulation and decision-making structures and processes. We strive to ensure that government polices, legislation and programmes contribute to gender equity. GAP has a remarkable track record in lobbying and advocacy in its various focus areas: Women and Governance, Gender and Local Government, Domestic Violence, Social Policy and Reproductive Health. GAP has achieved many victories in mobilising women in targeted communities around issues that affect them. We have effectively managed to influence legislation in several important areas affecting women. Through GAP’s involvement with women from disadvantaged communities, we have realised that poor communities and particularly women’s experiences in these communities seldom catch the eye of the media. This is where the idea of adapting the media toolkit for a South African audience emerged. GAP, being committed to the advancement of women and gender equality, felt that a great need exists to develop simple yet critical material on the media. We sought to increase the visibility of women and their experiences in the region and to break down the old stereotypes.

How was the toolkit adapted for South Africa? An intensive workshop was held with GAP staff, in December 1998. It was at this workshop that the core issues covered in this media toolkit were tested and interrogated. We were clear that given the right information and skills, communities and women in particular would have the confidence to use the media to advance their interests. GAP will use the media toolkit in our advocacy and lobbying training courses with the aim of empowering participants to understand media and to become skilled to use the media to report on their experiences. This we hope will contribute to transforming the media in South Africa and ensuring that the media reflect the experiences of all South Africans in a non-racist, non-sexist manner. So let us make our voices heard, by speaking on radio, putting pen to the paper, producing pamphlets, writing to the newspapers etc. In this way we could actively assist in developing a South African nation, through the use of the media, that understands the experiences of, and celebrates all of its citizens. Wishing you all the best with your media initiatives!

ROSIEDA SHABODIEN (Director of GAP)

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INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION How do the media affect the public?

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e are living in an information society, some are over-informed while others have little or no access information, which results in their exclusion from many social processes. Those who have access to information relevant to their interests are empowered to use it to their advantage. Those who have the privilege of producing information have the power to influence people. Everyone in the media communications world is competing for people’s time. By winning people’s attention can they achieve their goal of getting people interested and involved? The entertainment industry tries to make as much money as possible on people’s free time. “Media”, “Publicity”, “Propaganda”, “Marketing” and “Information”; there are many different theories about these communication processes. While the advertising industry tries to convince you that the only way to reach the public is with a 20 second advert on TV, a media researcher may question whether people are influenced by the media at all.

1.2 A SIMPLE MODEL OF COMMUNICATION Models can often help us to understand abstract ideas or processes. They are often used in the field of media and communication. The most simple model of communication basically asks and analyses:

WHO says WHAT, HOW, to WHOM with WHAT RESULT / EFFECT.

WHO - WHAT - HOW - RESULT simple communication model message what

1.1 INFORMATION IS POWER

whom sender (GAP)

how channel (newspaper) Feedback result/effect

who sender (GAP)

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For those who want to get a message across to the public, it is necessary to understand the various parts of the model in order to get the desired result / effect. The rest of this booklet takes a closer look at the different parts of the model: Chapter 2 looks at the channel as regards the various kinds of media. Chapter 3 deals with the who with a focus on building relationships and contact with journalists. Chapter4 looks at the various forms of information (the what). Chapter 5 deals with actually getting the message across (the whole process of communication using mass media as the vehicle of communication). Chapter 6 is devoted to producing your own print media (the whole process of communication from within your own organisation as a communicator).

1.3 OPINION LEADERS Mass communication is mostly a one-way process, where a sender spreads her/his message to an unknown group of people. Researchers found that some people - called opinion leaders - used the media more actively than others, they transferred the message to others. This suggests that people do not react blindly to the media’s messages, but rather take part in an active social context. This is basic knowledge for everyone who wants to send a message. It is very important for civil society movements, lobbyists and advocates for particular issues to take note of this. For instance, in the past the international anti-apartheid movement managed to use the international media very effectively to isolate the old South African regime, barring it from international participation. The work that GAP does is similar; we work with and through influential people and media institutions to ensure that we get our message across to the public. When an issue is talked about by an important person, or if it is given importance by the mass media, it is very likely that those with the power to make laws stand up, listen and stay accountable. Sometimes it is difficult to send a message because of “noise”. This may be anything from actual noise (you can’t hear the speech because of the traffic) to the receiver not being qualified to understand the message. For example if one thinks that Kabila is a spice, a news report from the Democratic Republic of the Congo would seem like nonsense. An example of when it is likely that there will be lots of noise would be during an election period. Many campaigns happen at once; So, if you want to run a campaign that seeks to unify politicians across party lines on a particular issue for instance, election time would be bad timing to do it. No information is ever passed on without being processed and influenced in some way. All information is subjective; there is no such thing as scientific objectivity in the world of communications. People operate in different contexts and each has its opinion leaders who can be used actively to spread a message.

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Whatever gets the big headlines and a lot of coverage in the newspapers and on TV and radio is also what interests the public. This is called ‘the agenda function’. A European politician suggested that the agenda function has created a “media-twisted society”. His concern was that pressure groups could easily control the media today, thereby drawing the attention of the politicians and ... political process. Even quite small activist groups can run highly visible campaigns.

MESSAGES IN THE MEDIA CAN PRESSURISE DECISION-MAKERS TO BE ACCOUNTABLE.

1.4 THE AGENDA FUNCTION

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For instance question time in Parliament is often governed by what the media is interested in. Politicians often try to satisfy their own publicity needs during the same question hours. This is important for organisations in our fledgling democracy to understand because it means that, without spending vast resources, it is possible to access the media and get our issues out to the public. When topics are discussed in important media, such as radio and TV, it puts them on the agenda. If you want to spread information and stimulate discussion on topics which your organisation is interested in, you have to know how the media work and which rules they follow.

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DIFFERENT KINDS OF MEDIA What kinds of media are there and how does the public use the media? GAP

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ince South Africa’s first democratic elections, the media have undergone major transformations at different levels. While this process has been very uneven and still has a long way to go, it has opened up many opportunities for new voices to be heard. The media are fast becoming an excellent tool for spreading messages of social importance to a much wider audience than before. While any democracy needs an independent media, there are some gray areas and hangovers from the past. The old regime used to completely control all the media. Our media developed in a particular way under authoritarian rule and in some cases the change to a democracy has been slow to catch on. Audiences in some cases remain extremely conservative because they are used to an authoritarian media. Big white business interests still predominantly own the privately owned media and advertising conglomerates. This obviously has an affect on the nature and kinds of stories and images that we see. Until the imbalances of ownership and skills in the media industry are redressed, there will be a skewed picture that does not serve the needs interests of all audiences.

2.2 MEDIA SIZE AND SECTORS Today, the media in South Africa is organised into three main categories - public , commercial and community. Depending on the scope and impact you want to have, the type of message you want to send and whom you want to talk to, it is very important to consider which of these media would be the most appropriate channel. The public media (SABC Radio and TV) are owned by the state and the law protects their independence. They have a specific mandate to serve the whole South African public - in all its diversity - with information, education and entertainment within particular rules determined by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). The IBA regulates the entire broadcasting sector and has in recent years given out many licenses to community radio stations. The commercial media are privately owned and generate income solely form advertising. Thus they have to follow the habits and preferences of audiences to get the most for the advertisers. In a society in transformation, this can be a tricky business because people’s values, attitudes and lifestyles are changing all the time. The community media are designed to serve specific communities – e.g. geographically defined localities (Radio C Flat serves the Cape Flats, Zibonele serves Khayelitsha) or communities of interest (disabled people). These are seen as the most accessible media as they can reach deep into rural areas, are inexpensive and do not require literacy. Community radio stations have in recent years become an excellent resource for poor people who were completely excluded from the communications arena in the past.

2.1 SOUTH AFRICAN MEDIA IN TRANSFORMATION

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2.3 USING THE MEDIA Our media world is complicated and diverse, but some media institutions have a monopoly on people’s attention. The big players in the media market set the terms every morning

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for what will be discussed in the lunch breaks or argued about around the dinner table. This is the case with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the Independent Newspapers group which controls The Argus and the Cape Times, the Sowetan and other large media conglomerates like Times Media group. If our message is to get across, we have to assume that people are going to open the newspaper, turn on the radio or have the necessary satellite dish. For example, it would be pointless get something on mid-week breakfast television if your target group is teenagers - they are at school! What follows is basic information describing the scope and advantages of each different medium available.

2.3.1 TV TV is one of the media, which reaches the most people, but this means that the demand is great. The chances of getting on national television are generally small, but don’t give up. An item on the eight o’clock news on SABC Channel 3 reaches a large portion of the population. TV is a direct medium; you can’t turn back the page. People generally trust TV and trust television journalists - “seeing is believing”.

2.3.2 RADIO Radio has a particular importance in South Africa because it is the medium which can reach the most people. It can speak to people in their own languages and it is the least expensive medium on which to receive messages. While the demand is great at the large stations, local or community radio are good alternatives - if your target group listens to local radio stations. These stations often have a low news threshold, meaning that it is comparatively easy to get it on air. The same mechanisms apply for local radio as for local newspapers – “local is lekker”.

2.3.3 NEWSPAPERS According to market research, people like to “read their way” to knowledge - they trust the printed word. Newspapers can be divided into three major groups: • National newspapers (the whole country, or several provinces) • Provincial newspapers • Local / Community newspapers. We have a number of national newspapers in South Africa, e.g. Mail & Guardian, Business Day and The Citizen. In spite of the fact that they cover the whole country, their material tends to focus on issues related to the major centres of Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannesburg. The large provincial newspapers are the preferred by people outside these areas. These papers carry material like interviews with local politicians, cinema advertisements, but also include foreign and national news. In this group we find papers such as Natal Witness, Daily Dispatch, Mphumalanga News and The Argus. There are numerous local newspapers - “knock and drops”, which only cover local news. A prerequisite for getting anything in a local paper is that you give it a local angle. Local papers are always looking for material and it is quite easy to get your items accepted.

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2.3.4 MAGAZINES Magazines are a very fast growing market in South Africa. Many of the new titles coming out target youth and the growing black middle class. If you want space in this part of the media, you need to plan well in advance because of the long printing time. Magazines are usually fussy about story angles. Magazines have a specific and limited target groups. For example Y-Magazine has a youth focus, Financial Mail has a finance focus and Femina has a women’s focus. Their readers have definite ideas about what they want to read. If your target group has its own magazine you can use this to get an important message across. Trade unions publish a number of important magazines with wide circulation.

2.3.5 PRESS AGENCIES The South African Press Association (SAPA) is probably the most important of the press agency in South Africa. Press agencies distribute reports and pictures from home and abroad to their subscribers. The larger daily newspapers and the SABC own SAPA. Newspapers all over the country subscribe to its services. SAPA’s domestic news desk resembles the news department of any paper, which produces journalistic material. The difference is that SAPA distributes material around the clock. Emphasis is placed on the news reports being factual, objective and accountable.

2.3.6 THE INTERNET AND E-MAIL The latest information channel for news is through the Internet. Most major newspapers have home pages with the main news, giving the journalists’ e-mail addresses, so readers can contact them directly. At present the news pages on the Internet serve as a complement to the print version of the paper rather than a fully-fledged alternative. TV and radio stations also publish material on the Internet. Many NGOs run websites which double as marketing and news tools - these are regularly updated and offer instant information, for example the Womensnet (http://womensnet.org.za) E-mail mailing lists are also a very fast and inexpensive way of spreading news and circulating information by forwarding it at the click of a button to a large group. Receivers can then pass the information on - this can grow exponentially like a pyramid. In this way Email has become a very effective way for organisations and pressure groups to distribute information. The equipment needed is a computer, simple modem and a telephone line connected to you computer. Most email software is very user-friendly and almost anyone who can do basic computer operation in Windows can learn to use e-mail in one sitting.

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Local newspapers are often read from cover to cover. In addition there are newspapers linked to special interests. The Big Issue is a newspaper targeting small business entrepreneurs, it accepts material angled to suit this target group. It is worth while to find out about the profile of newspapers and then form your news item towards the angle you know the newspapers like.

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YOU AND THE JOURNALIST How do you relate with journalists? GAP

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3.1 THE WORK PLACE AND THE JOURNALIST The more you know about the various media with which you are going to deal, the better your chances will be of having an effective relationship with them. You will have a better basis for knowing who you have to relate to, how and when. Sometimes it is useful to give the media tailor-made information, or to give a particular medium special treatment by offering it exclusive information. You should know the target group of a particular medium, its content and form of presentation. Also know the different departments, roles and work routines of the editorial staff. Knowing the audience will help you to put information together in a way that will get results from that group.

IT IS USEFUL TO KNOW: • Circulation • Distribution area • Readers/Audience/Listener Demographics • Geographical spread • Sex • Occupation/Education • Ideological attitudes • What kind of material the medium concentrates on: - The ideological colour of the material - Whether the form is sensational or “objective” - Emphasis on photos

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our chances of spreading information will depend greatly on your knowledge of how different media are organised and which groups are being targeted. This also applies to journalists’ work routines. How you relate to the media and journalists is very important. This chapter deals with these relationships. The first part takes a look at the journalist’s role. The second part deals with you as public relations officer and offers some general advice about how best to relate to journalists and people in the mass media.

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The journalist is the most important contact person for you. There are two main types; the news journalist and the one on the news desk. The first writes the articles, the other one evaluates the material and rewrites it or follows it up if necessary. The desk journalist functions as a kind of gatekeeper. You will have most contact with the news journalist, so this is the most important person as far as you are concerned. In some newspapers journalists take the desk function in turns, whilst others have two separate departments. The photographer is also important. Pictures are an important part of a newspaper, but this is especially true for TV. Good pictures can tip the scales in favour of an item being given wide coverage. Photographers are usually present at the editorial meetings.

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Two things apply to the majority of editorial offices: it is a busy place and there is a lot of information coming in. Because of this most information has to be shortened or sifted out.

3.2 ABOUT LOCAL MEDIA INSTITUTIONS IT IS USEFUL TO KNOW: • • • •

Who organises the working day and who sifts the material What kind of attitude the editorial management has to your organisation Whether there are sympathetic journalists and photographers on the staff Work routines differ from office to office, but there are some things common to all. • When the deadline is. Remember that different depar tments doing the different pages of a newspaper can have different deadlines. • The time of the editorial morning meeting - don’t disturb anyone in the middle of it. • When the shift changes - it is especially hectic around this time. Many myths have been woven around journalism. The journalist is just an ordinary person trying to do a job, which is to find and treat interesting and factual information as quickly as possible.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT JOURNALISTS: • They work with deadlines hanging over their heads. • They are often working on several things at the same time. Because of this, they have to prioritise all the time. • You are competing with others for their time and attention. • Most journalists are all-rounders. This applies par ticularly to smaller local newspapers. • Even specialist journalists do not necessarily know everything about your special field. • Journalists are busy.

3.3 YOU AS PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER As a public relations officer you have to accept the realities of the media world. The following general advice may help you to build a good relationship with the mass media and journalists.

3.3.1 BUILD UP PERSONAL CONTACTS If you know a journalist personally, the possibility of spreading your information is much greater. It allows you to get feedback as to how you should behave towards the media and why your information is/is not being used. There are many ways to make personal contact, for example you can try to get the journalist interested in what your organisation is doing. Always remember to respect the journalist’s integrity. In a small local community, one of

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3.3.2 BE OBLIGING TOWARDS JOURNALISTS When journalists contact you, don’t discriminate when they contact you, although you can give your information to a particular newspaper or another medium. If you are dissatisfied with the way your story has been covered, you can express this either by asking for a correction or through a reader’s letter. Don’t be fussy, you will only irritate if you criticise unimportant details. Above all, if you are happy with a particular article, give positive feedback by going directly to the journalist involved or to the editor.

3.3.3 THE 4 “C’S: CORRECT CLEAR CONCRETE CONCISE INFORMATION You must always give correct information to the mass media. Never lie. You will lose a lot of goodwill and credibility if you are caught giving lies or inaccuracies. Be open about information concerning a negative situation in your organisation - this breeds trust. It is also impor tant that unpleasant news comes from you in an objective and honest way instead of being broadcast as a sensation.

The information you give must be clear. The main points must be easy to understand. Avoid disguised adver tising. Disguised adver tising is an ar ticle containing propaganda for a product. Journalists hate disguised commercial content.

Concrete information hits harder than abstract. Be shor t. More than 30 lines is too long.

Press releases and letters to the editor must always be concise; Press conferences must be brief. Give shor t and clear answers when being interviewed.

C C

C C

Choose which media you are going to work with and with whom. Send a press release to all the media in your catchment area, invite everyone to a press conference. However, if you choose to tip someone off, then you must choose only one.

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the members of your organisation could try working freelance for the media. After a while this person might become a permanent freelancer, or even get a job.

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Remember that the editor can be far removed from day-to day work. Go to the news editor / editorial secretary or directly to a journalist. Letters to the editor should be addressed to “The Editor”, Press releases and invitations to press conferences go to the editorial office. If you are in personal contact with one of the journalists, follow up with a phone call.

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3.3.4 TIMING Get your timing right. The morning is a good time since the journalist has enough time to prepare the item. Don’t plan a press conference for a time just before a deadline or for a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Much of the Saturday and Sunday edition is written earlier on in the week, so the news threshold is high on the weekend. There aren’t many people in the office over the weekend either. On the other hand there may be a news vacuum on weekends. It could therefore be a good idea to send out a press release at the weekend and gamble on getting something about your case on SABC’s evening news at least. Big sporting events are generally given prime time coverage. Avoid planning press conferences or distributing press releases on the same day as big events. Your case is hardly likely to be given much attention in the national media on the same day as the opening of parliament or when the Government has presented the national budget. Be aware of your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses. Is it well known? Does it have a good reputation? Are many people interested in what your organisation stands for? If you can point to a large membership it will be easier for you to argue that the information is of interest to the media. Evaluate whether or not the amount of work you put in is worth the effort. Don’t call a press conference if you are in doubt as to whether the journalists will come. Don’t churn out press releases if they automatically get put in “file 13” (i.e. in the dustbin). Respect a journalist’s exclusive right to a news item he/she has tracked down.

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caught giving lies or inaccuracies. Be open

lot of goodwill and credibility if you are

to the mass media. Never lie. You will lose a

You must always give correct information

for a product. Journalists hate disguised

ver tising is an ar ticle containing propaganda

Avoid disguised adver tising. Disguised ad-

main points must be easy to understand.

The information you give must be clear. The

commercial content.

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about information concerning a negative situation in your organisation - this breeds

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trust. It is also impor tant that unpleasant news comes from you in an objective and honest way instead of being broadcast as a

Press releases and letters to the editor must

sensation. Concrete information hits harder than ab-

always be concise; Press conferences must

being interviewed.

be brief. Give shor t and clear answers when

C stract. Be shor t. More than 30 lines is too long.

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VARIOUS FORMS OF INFORMATION The type of information you use will determine how effectively you get your message across. GAP

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4.1 NEWS News is the most important kind of information in the mass media. News gets the biggest amount of attention in the editorial office and holds the best place in the media. Hot news usually results in comments, reports and analyses, whereas small news can be presented in a note of a few lines. There are no hard and fast rules as to what is a good news item, except that it is about something new or unknown to the public. However, most people would agree on some main points.

Many journalists would agree that a good news item contains several of the following points: • Proximity in time and space. “ Drug lords arrested at Waterfront this morning” is much bigger news than “Widespread fear of drug wars on the Cape Flats”. • Affects the public in some way. The more directly the news affects the public, the hotter it is. “The Government halves taxes” is hotter than “Impor t restrictions lifted on toys”. • Affects as large a percentage of the public as possible. “South African milk lethal” is a bomb, whereas “Ginger ale is poisonous” affects far fewer people and is therefore less impor tant. • Special and unusual. The typical example: “Dog bites man” is no news, whereas “Man bites dog” is news. News is better if it is surprising, dramatic or strange. • Clear and unequivocal. An example of the opposite: ‘Thinner ozone layer can lead to catastrophe”. Nothing is mentioned about whether the ozone layer is really getting thinner; “can” is vague; a thinner ozone layer does not necessarily lead to catastrophe. • Exclusivity. The fewer competing media which have got hold of the news item, the better coverage it will get.

BASIC STRUCTURE OF A NEWS ARTICLE To the point. The main point is mentioned in the first paragraph and is called the lead. The reader finds out there what the article is about. This paragraph must be short. The less important the information is the lower down it should be placed. The least important point comes right at the end. This means that an article can be shortened easily by cutting out the final paragraphs.

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he chances of getting your information distributed depend largely on what type of information you have to offer. This chapter deals with the four main types of information: news, comment, reports and background information.

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Articles are short. More than 50 lines is getting long. Paragraphs should be short ( 8- l 0 lines). Sentences should also be short.

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Concrete and clear grammar and style. Use the active voice. A news release should be easy to read. Difficult words are taboo. Strong adjectives should be used only in direct or indirect quotes. Articles are often made more alive or to the point by using direct quotes. The title of a news item is short, succinct, eye-catching and to the point.

point at top – most important information at the top Base – least important information at the bottom

News is usually presented according to a set form.

4.2 COMMENT Comment often accompanies hot news items, either in the form of analyses, statements, an interview or a letter to the editor. The aim of analysis - for example in the form of a feature article - is to bring understanding and a deeper insight to a complicated matter. At times advertisements are also used for comments. A comment, which contains something new and important for the public is a news item at the same time. How interesting a comment is, depends on: • What is being commented on • Who is commenting? • Whether the comment contains news • How the comment is formulated When there are big events in which your organisation is involved, you could well manage to get a comment included, either in the form of a letter to the editor or in an interview.

4.3 REPORTAGE Reportage is a descriptive article that deals with a current or special topic. It is made on the spot, and the journalist has experienced or been present at what he/she is writing about. The reportage does not need to contain pure news. The form is less strict than a news article, but it is important to emphasize the lead to arouse interest in a report. The form of reportage is similar to the shape of a fish. The lead grabs the reader. The body of the article contains a lot of solid material, closing with a

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4.4 BACKGROUND INFORMATION Background information is not used directly in the media. However, this type of information does influence the journalist. Background information can be in the form of a leaflet or a magazine that treats the topic in depth. It can also be cuttings from newspapers and periodicals, research reports or books. As a public relations officer you will often receive special information. Make a copy and send it to a journalist whom you know would be interested.

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snappy ending. A reportage can be long - several pages long. Great emphasis is placed on the language. A good reportage aims to illustrate an event or a situation to the reader, so good photos are also important. A special form of this type of material is the feature article. It is not news oriented, but focuses on a special attraction, whether it is an event, a situation or a person. A portrait is a feature article about a person. Feature articles aim to be as lively but to the point as possible and are written in the form of a story (narrative).

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C H A P T E R

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5

GETTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS The form in which you distribute your message can be crucial to the success of your campaign. GAP

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T

he way in which you distribute information to the mass media can be crucial to your success. This chapter deals with a number of methods for distributing infor mation - in the form of a press release, press conference, interview, reader contribution (letter to the editor and articles) advertisements, and audio-visual communications. Finally, we deal with how you can organise a whole public relations campaign, and how you ought to evaluate the response to the information you send out.

5.2 THE PRESS RELEASE The press release is a good tool to get news across to the media. With a press release you reach maximum media outlets with minimum effort. Press releases are used both to inform the media about special events or to give them an idea regarding the contents of the event itself - for example the main points of a lecture. It is often a good idea to include both parts in a press release. When you send out information regarding events, it is important to include the main topic, time (date, day of the week, time of day and duration) and venue. You should also mention whether there will be special participants at the event, and give the name and telephone number of a person who can be contacted for further information or confirmation of attendance. Also mention whether food and beverages will be served. Only send out a press release about an event if you really believe it is of general interest to the public. A press release on a particular topic must contain genuine news. Remember that the news threshold varies from medium to medium. If you have news on different topics, then you create a press release for each topic. The press release should be written in the same way as a news article, so that it can be printed more or less unchanged. Remember in particular that the main point must be mentioned concisely and clearly in the lead. A press release should generally not exceed 30 lines and is never more than one page. A journalist who receives a press release that resembles a news article will quickly get the point and be able to sense whether or not the release is newsworthy. This will also save the time of having to rewrite it.

BASIC RULES IN WRITING FOR THE PRESS Manuscript • Write one A4 page only and refer to any attachments • Make clear copies • Send a tidy manuscript, without corrections, writing errors or crossings-out Quotes • Avoid exclamation marks, bold type, underlining and question marks • Direct quotes must begin with quotation marks • Star t a new paragraph after a quote. • A quote should take up no more than one paragraph. Time • Be specific about the day of the week and the date. Don’t write “yesterday” or “in two days”.

5.1 FORMS OF INFORMATION

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Names • Write both first name, surname and any title of a person at first mention. Thereafter you need only mention a person’s title and surname or just the surname. • At first mention of an organisation, its name must be written out in full, with the shor t form or acronym in brackets; e.g. Gender Advocacy Programme (GAP). Numbers • Numbers from ten down are written in letters, but from 11 upward, they are written in figures. • The above rule is reversed when talking about money;e.g. 1 rand, 5 dollars and one thousand rands, 50 million dollars. Symbols and Measurement • Symbols such as percent, rand and plus are always written in letters. • Units of measurement are to be written out in full; e.g. kilometer, square meter, millimeter. • If the unit is not well-known, put the shor tened form in brackets; kilowatt-hour (kWh).

ATTACHMENTS TO PRESS RELEASES SHOULD CONTAIN: • Sender’s name, address, telephone number, and where applicable, fax number and e-mail address. • Contacts with name, title and telephone number for fur ther information. • Additional information about your organisation if it is not well known: its aims, what it is involved in, its geographical presence, size etc. This must be kept shor t - at most a couple of lines. • Photographs, drawings: Where appropriate, attach two formats of the same picture or drawing (one por trait, one landscape). This will simplify things in layout. Comments on the picture should be written on the back, together with the name of the photographer, when and where it was taken. The ideal sise for photographs or drawings is 13 x l8 cm. • If the press release is based on a government repor t, research repor t or lecture manuscript, you can attach this or mention where it can be found.

WAYS TO SEND A PRESS RELEASE Fax: This is the most effective way unless you have photos which you can’t send by fax. E-mail: Phone your journalist contact and tell him/her to expect email; also check the address. E-mail is a good way of sending pictures if you can scan them onto disc and attach them to the message. Personal Appearance: This is time-consuming, but the advantage is that the journalist can ask follow-up questions on the spot. It is also a good way of

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ASE PRESS RELE

E N T AT N ’S R E P R E S E M O W E L B F O R E Q U ITA A V IC T O RY T LEVEL. GOVERNMEN

L IO N AT LO C A

tly io ns th at gr ea re e ne w pr ov is th d ar ve rn rw go l fo t ca ce ss to lo Ac t ha s pu al St ru ct ur es lit at e be tte r ac ip ci ic fa ch is un at hi M th t w d en % an ds at 18 l G ov er nm ve rn m en t t cu rr en tly st an Th e ne w Lo ca en in lo ca l go en m om hi nd w rn be ve of ay n go w l tio It is al so n in lo ca pr es en ta l Le gi sl at ur es . ad va nc e th e re ’s re pr es en ta tio na en tio om Na W d . an en al ov in ci es by w om el ec te d of fic e. ta tio n in th e Pr m en t st ru ct ur en ’s re pr es en n of w om en in om tio w ta en of es at pr th re w ay be hi nd in im um of 30 % oj ec t lly ac ce pt ed m G ov er nm en t Pr th e in te rn at io na s (G AP ) Lo ca l e’ m m at ra th og on Pr iti re co gn vo ca cy th e G en de r Ad lis ts is a m aj or of ty r or pa ns at io in on is rd es ov -o nk , Co ca nd id at e ot he r pr M irj am va n Do ot a fo r w om en le ad er sh ip . Th qu ’s % en at es th at 50 om ul a w ip r g st fo in is io n r en co ur ag Th e Ac t al so fo n. y lit tio bi ta sa id : “T he pr ov si en on es re sp en ’s re pr en su rin g th at s ne ed to ta ke fa ci lit at e w om a lo ng w ay in ill w go ill ch w hi po lit ic al pa r tie w ch , hi st em itt ee s w ed el ec to ra l sy e W ar d Co m m in cl ud e a re fin es en te d on th pr re y bl ” ta g. ui in be eq on m ak w om en sh ou ld in lo ca l de ci si ui ta bl e w om re ct ly in vo lv ed di e or m e ar lo bb yi ng fo r eq of t on w om en fr re fo at th e lio Co m m itt ee an d th e Po r tfo w hi ch ha s be en ), sa AP oo M (G e lli m Va m . ge nd er in is te r M vo ca cy Pr og ra co m m itm en t to ng ra tu la te s M its co t in en n Th e G en de r Ad m io arn ut ve tit go t of tr an sf or m s th e Co ns ta tio n in lo ca l cr iti ca l el em en Th e Ac t up ho ld a is k. l en ’s re pr es en or ve w le r t ei en th rn m na l Af fa irs on n at lo ca l go ve on Co ns tit ut io an d se ns iti za tio ty ui en . eq om er w nd of , ge th e liv es eq ui ty. Fo r G AP e di ffe re nc e to tiv ita al pa r tie s. “W e qu a e ak al l op po si tio n by t tio n an d w ill m Ac e th of e th ey je ct io n ob je ct in g to ; ar th e ou tr ig ht re e Ac t th ey ar e er n, ho w ev er, th nc of ify th is to th e co ts st r ju ith pa n w t d ca de cl ar e w ha lie ve th ey be to Va n Do nk no te s ey tie th r pa Do e t? rn m en al le ng e th es w om en in go ve w ou ld lik e to ch va nc em en t of ad e th k oc bl at te m pt in g to ar e w om en ?” pr ov is io n fo r a el ec to ra te w ho e th of ity he re nc e to th e or ad aj m s’ tie r ad er s pa al rin g po lit ic ty of w om en le w ill be m on ito Th er e ar e pl en . s O ts lis NG r e ty r de id pa en ov on en , pr ot he r G re pr es en ta tiv es tif y th es e w om G AP, al on g w ith ith in en an d w om en w ill be to id en m s n tie ee r iti ve cu ltu re w tw pa ns be al e se ic te a ge nd er ng e fo r po lit 50 :5 0 ba la nc le ea al cr ch to e d Th an . . n at io n Do nk m m un iti es le th ei r pa r tic ip om en ,” sa id va ou t th er e in co su pp or t to en ab pe rie nc e of w d ex an d s an t ce ur pu in so ab le su ffi ci en t re rm in e th e va lu ve m be r 19 98 as no t to un de G RA M M E 4 No O PR CY th ei r ra nk s so CA G EN DE R AD VO

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maintaining personal contact with the office. Don’t do this too often. Letter: Very unsuitable for current news. However, if you are organising something and have plenty of time, it can be a good alternative to the fax if you have substantial attachments. Messenger/taxi: Very good when you have little time, and when e-mail is not available.

5.2.1 TIMING The timing of a press release is of the utmost importance • Avoid sending out a press release on a holiday (when no newspapers are published), except if you want be on radio or TV - they may be hard-pressed for news at such times. • Don’t send out a press release late in the evening. Deadlines are probably just round the corner and if it lies around until the following day, the news in it gets old quickly. • Try to send out all your press releases at the same time of day. • If you are pressed for time, prioritise SAPA and SABC (local offices). • Send out information regarding forthcoming events well in advance. • Call in advance and remind them about the event and ask if they will be sending any journalists. • If the event is really big, then the editorial offices should be told even earlier.

5.2.2 WHO SHOULD YOU SEND YOUR PRESS RELEASE TO? To all the media whom you think might be able to use your press release should receive one. Don’t discriminate against anyone, even if they strongly disagree with you and the aims of your organisation. Don’t forget local radio stations, newspapers on the lnternet and the local offices of large media companies. If the subject matter is of international interest, remember the freelancers who work for foreign media (stringers). Send the press release to the editorial office. If you have a personal contact in the office, whom you think ought to be informed, then send him/her a copy.

5.3 THE PRESS CONFERENCE The press conference is a demanding and time-consuming way of getting news and information out. You must be convinced that it is worth the effort before you take such a step. A press conference requires a considerable amount of advance planning, a small amount of work afterwards, and must be carried out with precision. There is no guarantee of success, as you don’t know how many people may attend. Those who do turn up usually write a few lines at least. A press conference can be a very good vehicle if you have something visual you want to show, or if one or more good interview subjects are present. This allows the media to slant both material and photos their own way. If you have some news which you know the press are panting for, because several journalists have been ringing to ask what is happening, then a press conference can make the news even more important. However you must be well prepared and have some juicy bits up your sleeve.

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You have to reserve a suitable venue. It should be in a central location and big enough for all the participants to be seated. It should be light and attractive (especially if you expect the TV cameras to be there). Annoying noises are a nuisance. You should also have access to a telephone. It is also a good idea to hang any banners or posters relevant to the subject on the walls as a ‘backdrop’ Make sure that all the technical apparatus is in good working order. It is embarrassing to have to mess around with a video machine in the middle of a conference. At larger events and press conferences held by your organisation, there should be a special press table and reserved seating. This allows journalists to follow the debate or lecture and also have access to press folders, food and drink. A press conference ‘on location’ can also have strong effect. Make sure that the press are given accurate, correct details on how to get there, whether they need extra clothes (e.g. rain-proof clothing).

5.3.2 TIMING Weekends are seldom a good time, and evenings are out because of deadlines. The morning of an ordinary weekday is therefore best, because then most journalists are on duty and TV has plenty of time to edit news items for prime-time evening viewing. Though a press conference should not be before ten o’clock in the morning because the editorial morning meetings are usually in progress. Lunchtime is perfect. It is early enough and if you serve food it allows journalists to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ and they may be more sympathetic to your cause.

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5.3.3 PREPARATION If possible, send out invitations to the media at least a week in advance. The invitation should include details regarding where and when the press conference will be held and who the organisers are. You should also include some information, but do not mention so much that you give away the news you intend to serve fresh and hot at the press conference itself. Mention whether food and drink will be served. Ask for a reply. Phone beforehand to confirm who will be participating. Sometimes a journalist is unable to attend but would like to cover the story anyway. Accept this and send him/her the press folder the same day as the press conference or immediately afterwards. Plan who will chair the press conference and who the facilitator will be. Famous names are always popular. Prepare press folders. These contain a press release, background information, photos or drawings and other relevant material. Remember to include information on your organisation and details on contacts with regard to this particular story. This material should be sufficient to allow journalists to use check and supplement their own notes. Press folders can also be sent to those media not present. Make sure that the press conference is also exciting for the photographer. Have ready pictures, drawings or objects which can illustrate your message. If, for example, an environmental organisation is digging up barrels of toxic waste, then show one of the barrels.

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5.3.4 HOW TO CONDUCT THE PRESS CONFERENCE • Star t on time • Make a list of those present. It is advisable to see who came, it will make your work afterwards simpler. • Open the conference by presenting the par ticipants and briefing the audience on your news (no longer than 10 minutes). • Then let the journalists fire away with their own questions. • A press conference is open to all the press and all the journalists should be treated with the same respect, regardless of what you think of par ticular journalists and their media. • Make time for exclusive interviews and photo oppor tunities (journalists love exclusivity). • Serve coffee, tea and soft drink no matter what time of the day. • At lunchtime you can serve a simple meal. • Don’t serve alcohol or fussy food. • The entire press conference should not take longer than one hour.

5.3.5 FOLLOW-UP Immediately after the press conference you should send the press folder or at least a press release containing the news to the most important media which did not participate. Remember to include photos if available. After the press conference you should monitor the news carefully. You should react if you discover important mistakes; ask the editorial office involved to correct them. If this is refused, or the news item is given a negative twist, then you should follow up with a letter to the editor.

5.3.6 PRESS BRIEFING This is a more informal kind of press conference and usually takes place preceding or during a big event. During a press briefing one usually mentions practical information in connection with the event, for example where and when the news will arrive.

5.3.7 PRESS TOUR Consider the possibility of organising a press tour if it suits the situation. In some cases it is a good idea to invite one or a handful of journalists to cover a special event. For example, if your organisation is going to start a project it might be a good idea to invite a journalist along whom you know is interested. Remember to send the invitation to the editorial office, which is free to choose whom they wish to send. The journalist in question must be given a free hand and not feel tied or pressured in any way by your organisation. An alternative method is to invite a freelance journalist.

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The interview is a good vehicle when you or a particular medium is interested in an item being given exclusive treatment, or a special angle. The interview is a good way of commenting on an issue. Ask yourself : AM I THE RIGHT PERSON TO DO THE INTERVIEW? The interviewer may want to focus on a subject that falls outside your area of expertise. You may have all the information but perhaps a specific person in your organisation will reach specific listeners more effectively. Interviews can be done over the phone or face to face. Avoid exchanging written questions and answers - the journalist sees it as a straightjacket and it also more timeconsuming for you both. An interview can last just a few minutes and deal with simple information, or it can last for several hours and treat a larger subject. It can seem like a cosy chat or it can be more like a ‘revolver interview’, where the journalist tries to pin you to the wall. Generally you will be interviewed alone, but it does happen that you will be together with someone either sympathetic or unsympathetic to your cause. Remember that you can take the initiative to be interviewed if you think it is necessary.

5.4 THE INTERVIEW

• • • • • • • •

STAY IN CONTROL AT THE INTERVIEW • Be prepared. • Know your subject and know what you want to say and how you want to say it. • If you are going to be interviewed on a subject which is delicate or very complex, it might be wise to practice beforehand. • Get someone else in your organisation to ask you difficult questions and tape it if possible. Afterwards you can discuss how to handle the difficult questions. If you are uncer tain as to how you should answer in spite of your preparations, you can ask for half an hour to find out. Another good alternative is to refer to someone else in the organisation whom you think could help you with the answer. If there is a question you don’t want to answer, then you must be able to give a good reason. For a longer interview, find out what topics will be addressed. This applies in par ticular to interviews on radio and television. No matter what, you have the right to know how the interview will be used, what the subject is, and whether the interview is par t of a greater whole. Speak clearly, correctly and in a concrete and concise manner. Stick to the facts, but don’t be boring. Don’t say anything to a journalist which you don’t want to see in print or on air.

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• If you want to keep a journalist, up-dated about a par ticular matter, but don’t want him/her to publish it, make this quite clear before you impar t the information. • You have to feel you can trust the journalist before you give him/her any information ‘off the record’. • If you are offer facts ‘off the record’, the journalist is likely to get confirmation from other sources and the promise of confidentially will no longer apply. • Don’t be afraid of asking the journalist to repeat the question if you don’t understand. • If a topic is difficult or controversial, or if you are dealing with a speculative issue, you can ask for the interview to be read to you before it is printed or goes on the air. • It is a good idea to mention this before the interview star ts. Most journalists will accept a request to let you hear the interview. • Don’t be too fussy when the interview is read to you, and don’t worry about the language • Whatever happens, you only have the right to change information where you are quoted as the source • It is also possible to twist the question so that you can answer something else, and thus avoid unwelcome questions. The danger here is that the journalist notices that you are trying to get out of it. • Don’t try to directly influence the journalist. The journalist often knows best what the topic’s main point is and how the ar ticle should be formed. • Offer written material on the topic if you find anything suitable. • Don’t let the journalist put words into your mouth. For instance, you might get a leading question which agree with, but you want to give the answer a different form; take your time to underline your answer. • Occasionally it is wise to take someone else from the organisation with you. • Be sure to agree with your organisation beforehand exactly what you want to say. • Be responsible for what you have said. You have to take the rough with the smooth. If you have made a slip of the tongue or made an unfor tunate statement then you have to take the consequences. Pull yourself together so that you don’t repeat the blunder. • You own your own statements until they go to print. You will make yourself extremely unpopular if you try to withdraw something you have said. If you think you have said something which is actually wrong, you should try to correct your mistake before the ar ticle goes to print.

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Questions To Ask Before You Agree To An Interview On Air • What programme will l be interviewed on? • Who is your target audience? • Which areas do you cover? • What time should l be there? • How long will the interview be? • Which issues would you like to cover? • Will it be live or recorded? • How will it be used? * Will it be played as is or will it be edited to a shor ter version? * Will the interviewers’ questions be cut out? * Will it be used on the news as a 20 second clip?

5.4.1 PREPARATION FOR THE INTERVIEW Send a fax with background information so that the presenter can prepare adequately. You can prepare yourself by making sure that you are familiar with the issues to be discussed. Take notes with you of you like and make sure that you have contact telephone numbers with you at hand to mention on air.

TIPS FOR RADIO INTERVIEWS

• • • • • •

• Be relaxed prepared and on time • Speak simply • Don’t use unnecessarily big words of jargon out of context or you could alienate your listeners. • Explain jargon if you must use it - not everyone is familiar with terms like “femicide” and “gender violence”. Speak slowly and in your natural accent - don’t try and put on an accent. Don’t try to answer all the questions at the same time. Relax and pretend that you are having a chat with the presenter (don’t to think of all the thousands of people out there listening). Be clear or your meaning might not come across as intended. Keep your cell phone off Don’t do an interview when you have a bad cough.

5.5 READER CONTRIBUTIONS

BASIC RULES FOR TALKING ON AIR

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Readers can contribute to newspapers by writing letters to the Editor or by writing their own articles. Articles from readers are a way of starting a debate and letters to the Editor can contribute to a current debate. A study showed that 60 percent of readers read the

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debate pages. This is especially true for local newspapers. You can also write to the newspaper to correct a factual mistake on a particular matter. The advantage of a reader contribution is that it is relatively easy to get it published. It is also possible to send the same article to several media at the same time.

SOME ADVICE: • Reader contributions must follow the four C’s rule (be clear concise, correct and concrete). • They should be factual, but also pithy and well formulated. • Contributions from readers should be exciting and fun to read. • The manuscript must be tidy and follow the same rules as the press release. • Find out what maximum length is accepted. • Be aware that some media differentiate between debate contributions (usually longer and more serious) and reader contributions. • Write a maximum of 20 lines if you are sending your contribution to many different media. • Sign your contribution. • Be aware that the editorial office can shor ten it if they think it is too long and give it a new title. • Remember that there is usually a queue to get reader contributions printed.

5.5.1 YOUR OWN ARTICLE If you are travelling on business, you are likely to come across a lot of interesting material. You will be meeting people with whom only your organisation is in contact, and you will find yourself in situations and places which can be of public interest. This is an opportunity to do interviews, background reports, feature articles and current reports dealing with subjects of interest to your organisation. Should you be present at a meeting not being covered by the media, you can write a report. Remember to deliver the report to the media immediately after the meeting is finished. Perhaps the media shows little interest in a forthcoming visit of a well known guest from abroad. You may decide that it is worth interviewing the person and offering it to the newspapers. If your organisation has its own regular news publications, you can also get articles printed here. If an article has been published elsewhere, this must be mentioned. You can send the same article to several media, but not to competing media. Ask if you are in doubt. The Natal Witness and Cape Times are not competing but the Sunday Independent and the Sunday Times are, whereas a newspaper with national coverage is. Talk to a journalist you know about your ideas. Show the finished article to him/her. It might work much better with some simple editing.

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Tipping the media off about a news item is the least demanding form of contact. On the other hand there is no guarantee that the matter will be taken into consideration or how it will be treated. The advantage of a tip-off is that, besides being very little work, the journalist who gets it will ‘owe’ you a favour. It is a way of building up a contact.

GROUND RULES FOR THE TIP-OFF • There must be meat on the bone, i.e. it must be a really juicy piece of news otherwise you will have no credibility at the outset. • Don’t give away only half. When a journalist finds out the rest him/herself, he/ she will feel fooled, because you have hidden something. If you say “A” you also have to say “B”. • Don’t try to bargain. You are tipping off the journalist because you want to. The journalist will take up the matter if he/she is interested. • Journalists generally put the phone down on anonymous tip-offs (and anonymous letters end up in the bin.

5.7 ADVERTISEMENT The cost of getting your message across with press releases, letters to the editor and your own articles is minimal. However, getting into print is a game of chance. In spite of very clever planning, other dramatic events can come along and beat your news in the fight for newspaper space or broadcasting time. For example, at the end of 1989, Namibia held its first free election after 70 years of South African occupation. Hardly anyone heard about this historic election because it happened at the same time as the Berlin Wall fell in Europe. Using advertisements to get your message across costs money, but the chances of being seen are more certain. Most organisations have to advertise at one time or another. We usually only think of newspaper advertisements, but there are many possibilities. Advertising spots on radio and TV, buying links on the Internet, billboards, busses and taxis... most things are possible in the commercial media picture. It just costs money. The more tempting the offers, the more skeptical you as a buyer of advertising services should be. If you know someone who works in advertising or marketing, ask them for useful tips. Advertising can be divided into two groups - announcements and publicity campaigns:

5.7.1 ANNOUNCEMENTS

5.6 TIP-OFF

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All political meetings, demonstrations, concerts etc. should have an advertising budget. Call the newspaper’s advertising department well in advance, and check prices, conditions of payment and send off the text and layout suggestions well in advance. Most newspapers will help you with the layout. This type of advert normally has a set place and these pages

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are usually the cheapest alternative. At times it is wise to advertise on text pages, even if this is more expensive. For instance, if you are organising a debate meeting on foreign affairs, an advert on the foreign affairs pages will give you a better chance of reaching your target group. A spot on a popular local radio programme can also be a good idea, if you are sure that your target group listens to this station. It need not be so expensive either, especially if you have an idea for something simple yet catchy.

5.7.2 PUBLICITY CAMPAIGNS The large aid organisations use extensive advertising/publicity campaigns in connection for fund-raising. This usually includes television and radio advertising, large advertising boards, newspaper advertising etc. They often use emotive pictures which touch people’s feelings and persuade them to open their purses. Some organisations have large budgets for this purpose whereas others get free help from advertising agencies, newspapers or support from sponsors. This kind of advertising is controversial but there is no doubt about the resulting income. If you want to use such campaigns then it is important that its statements are in harmony with the aims of the organisation. There are quite obvious problems connected with sponsoring of advertisements. For example, if an environmental organisation runs a campaign sponsored by a large oil company, its credibility is likely to be questionable. This kind of problem must be cleared up before the start. Refer to look the section paragraph on the “public relations campaign”.

5.8 AUDIO VISUAL INFORMATION This toolkit has concentrated mostly on written and oral communication. However it is well known, as the saying goes, that a picture is worth thousand words. This section take a brief look at audio-visual communication - communication which uses both sound and picture

5.8.1 SLIDE PRESENTATION Presentations accompanied by slides or transparencies are a simple and cheap form of audio-visual communication. Good pictures, together with a good talk, can give a good understanding of a subject, a problem etc. It is quite common for people to use bullet points, occasional graphics and illustrations to refer to in their presentations at conferences, lectures, hearings etc. There is simple computer software available that can assist you to produce professional-looking slides. If you use an over-head projector, you can draw, write, print or photocopy your visual material onto a transparency that is projected onto a large screen. If you have access to a VGA projector (very expensive to hire), you can project what is on a computer screen directly onto a large screen. GAP has used slide presentations very effectively in presentations at public hearings aimed at forming new laws as well as in our advocacy and lobbying training in communities.

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○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Film is an extremely complex, labour-intensive, expensive and time-consuming medium. It is highly unlikely that the average organisation would be able to afford to too commission the making of a film. However there many quality documentaries that were recorded on simple video equipment, edited and later shown on giant screens or in cinemas. Video equipment is increasingly cheap and simple to use, but basic training is recommended to get maximum benefit out of it. Our film industry in its infancy and there are a lot of young, up-and-coming independent film makers looking for subjects for documentary films. There is also a new tv channel that commissions and finances independent film makers. The wealth of stories in NGOs and CBOs in South Africa has yet to be tapped by the film industry and this is a great opportunity waiting to be taken on both sides. It could be useful to build relations with independent film makers that are interested in subjects affecting your organisation. Many opportunities exist at present to get films made. Media training schools could be approached and their students could do projects with you. Development agencies and funders occasionally agree to give funds to video making projects (often of an educational nature) if it is clear that the results will be far- reaching. This means that broadcast and distribution must be guaranteed at the outset. Distribution can pose a problem and is governed by a whole global network of business interests. Tv channels will only show films of a high technical standard and usually they like to be involved editorially in new projects that they agree to broadcast.

5.8.3 EXHIBITION Whereas films and picture shows presuppose an audience which will come and look, an exhibition meets people where they are - in the foyer of a cinema, in a library or in a shopping mall. The format depends on how much money is available. You can make anything from a mobile exhibition with beautiful colour pictures and audio-visual aids, to a simple cardboard poster which you yourself have made, with scissors and glue. The only limits are money and your own creativity. Exhibitions are a great way to meet new target groups. Have an “exhibition guide” who can tell people about your organisation and get people interested.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER BEFORE YOU START Who is the target group? Is the exhibition going to stand in a canteen, a library or a youth club? Match the message, the means and the language to the target group. What is your message? Define what you want to say and say only one thing at a time! Exhibitions, more than any other media, must have a message which is clear and easy to understand. You often have to get the attention of an audience which is out looking for something else; it is very easy to walk past.

5.8.2 FILM AND VIDEO

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How do you say it? Use large illustrations, a simple and concise language, use many leads and picture headings and give the information a logical chronology. Use audiovisual aids if possible and use different types of props to illustrate your message. For example, if your message is about a child’s imprisonment, a pair of handcuffs hung up on a picture of a child could excite people’s curiosity and draw them in to find out more.

5.9 PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN A public relations officer’s day is a continuous public relations campaign. Often the different messages resources and aims are intertwined. A defined public relations campaign should contain a well thought-out plan, where the different steps are worked out in detail and matched with each other. The aim of campaigns is not only to spread knowledge, but also to create opinions. This is the public relations officers most difficult task. Opinions would seem to be affected by long-term, extensive influence. A far-reaching public relations campaign can have this effect. Some of these steps and supporting resources that you need to develop for a public relation campaign have already been discussed. In Chapter 6, we will cover the production of printed material. This section focuses on the questions to must ask at the different stages of a campaign and what is needed to carry on to the next step.

HOW TO ORGANISE A PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN STEP 1: Planning / Documentation Stage Questions • What is the message? • Who is the target group? • Which resources and framework do you have? (Budget, people and time). • Is it wor th par tnering or co-operating with other organisations or authorities? • Do you have enough information and material? • Which channels should you use and which types of information material should be emphasised (consider target groups and message here)? STEP 2: Production In other paragraphs and chapters we look at the production of different information material. A campaign contains various kinds of material - leaflets, adver tisements, exhibitions, videos and, crucially a press plan.

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○ ○

STEP 3: The Campaign The success of the campaign itself depends on the preparation: • Is all the information ready at the right time? • Has it been distributed properly? • Are all the par ts of the organisation prepared? Has the press work been done properly, so that information concerning the campaign has been distributed? All the par ts must function in a complementary way in order to ensure complete success. If everything has been well prepared, then the campaign itself will usually go off well. However sometimes you get negative reactions. The campaign’s message can be opposed politically, or one is attacked because of how the campaign is being run. Think through such possibilities carefully before launching the campaign. Have a contingency plan in case of obstacles – always be ready to react positively to unexpected occurrences. Plan for who is going to answer questions, how to meet criticism and how to spread contrary information if the need arises. STEP 4: Evaluation Measuring results and evaluation are often forgotten in a public relations campaign. One is often so tired and burnt out after a big campaign that one doesn’t take the time to collect information that measures the effect, and to evaluate the effor t. This can be done using either simple or more complicated (but expensive) methods. If you can afford it, you can use opinion pollsters. Otherwise you can make simple questionnaires or collect and note all coverage in the different media. A proper count of the media coverage and a simple content analysis of how the material was treated can give you a pointer as to how the campaign has been received. Sales figures, feedback and numbers of new members can also give you wor thwhile information. An evaluation is impor tant regardless of whether the campaign was a success or not. Don’t be afraid of uncovering mistakes or defects. These are what you learn from.

All material must be ready for the star t of the campaign. Prepare an exact schedule which includes all the different kinds of production. It often falls on public relations officer to follow up production in detail. Make sure that you delegate tasks so that each product is followed up properly.

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PRODUCING YOUR OWN MEDIA Understanding the processes of producing print media GAP

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○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

W

e have briefly mentioned print media of leaflets, folders and posters. As a rule we use a publishing company for design and layout (DTP) and a printing company (usually subcontracted by the publisher) for reproduction purposes. Meeting these companies is a whole new world for many. There is lots of jargon words and you can quickly feel rather helpless. Then it’s easy to become a victim, (including unreasonable prices). Always ensure that discussions are on your terms. If there is something you don’t understand then say so! You will meet new experts at every stage in the process, and nobody can expect you to know all the specialist terms. The following points may prepare you a little bit better for the various processes you will meet in the process production of printed matter.

6.2 AN IDEA AND AN ESTIMATE You have an idea of what you want to get printed, and why. Try to estimate the size, format and number of pages. You’ll need this in order for the printers to be able to tell you how much it will cost. Think through the following points: Number: How many people are to receive a copy? Do you intend to sell it? How many do you think will buy it? ( Mind you, don’t order too few). The more your print, the cheaper each copy but a reprint can mean a big extra cost. Look: What kind of quality paper should you choose? Should you choose thick paper, glossy or newsprint quality? Do you want to use quality full-colour pictures, or are black and white photos more suitable? Match this par t of the production planning to the product profile. An environmental pamphlet on glossy, white paper is an excellent way of ending up with egg on your face. Getting a dummy made is a good idea - a rough sample of the leaflet - which shows you the number of pages, use of pictures and format. Timeframe: Work out a realistic timeframe according to all the steps and processes needed.

You can now go to different publishers with these details and they will give you an estimate. Prices can vary widely, but remember to check whether everything is included before you say yes to the cheapest offer. You could ask for samples of their work. This will give you an idea of the printers’ quality and thoroughness.

6.3 MANUSCRIPT AND LAYOUT

6.1 READY, STEADY, PRINT - A BRIEF LOOK AT PRINTED MATTER

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The raw material for printed matter is the manuscript and pictures/illustrations. Some write the copy themselves, others pay a copywriter to do the job. If the manuscript is long and difficult, it might be an idea to get someone to go through it, checking the language. Get rid of difficult words and generally make it easier to read. Pictures and illustrations

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can often be the deciding factor in whether printed matter is read. Special designers can be used for this work. But don’t be afraid to try yourself. A group of creative people can be just as good as the experts. Get an expert to give you an opinion on the finished result.

6.4 FIRST PROOF AND ROUGH PAGE-MAKING You get the first proof back from the printers for proofreading and rough page making. Ask someone other than the copywriter to proof-read. In the page-making stage the pages are arranged as in their final form. The graphic effects, such as column rules, scanning, picture layout etc. is shown. Picture and text headings are included and the page numbers are marked.

6.5 PAGE-MAKING AND PAGE PROOF The printer will correct the copy according to the corrected proofs and will arrange the pages. The pages are scanned, that is, converted to points, so that they can be printed. If there are colour pictures, the pictures are separated into four different plates - red, yellow, blue and black - which together create the finished picture. During the page proof stage you go through everything page by page to check both the text and the layout. Are the pages arranged correctly, are all the picture frames in place, are the page references correct? This is also your last chance to correct any mistakes, without it costing too much.

6.6 THE PRINTER’S The corrected pages are now sent to the printers, who make films of the pages and transfers them to the printing plates. But it is still possible to correct any errors. The printer often makes a blueprint of the film, so that it can be checked. An error doesn’t really mean all that much, but it’s not much fun if it is repeated perhaps 560.000 times in one print production, But correcting an error on a blueprint costs money, so most errors should have been discovered before this stage. After printing comes the bookbinding. The pages are folded and leaflets or books are glued or stapled at the back. When this is done, the product is cut to its correct form, before being packed and made ready for distribution.

6.7 DISTRIBUTION If you are going to spend the time and money on producing your own media, you will always have to have a distribution strategy, to ensure that people out there get your beautiful product. It is worthwhile to keep a mailing list on computer that is regularly updated and maintained. Consider contracting distributors unless you can mobilize a committed, hard working team to see the project through to its end. Never underestimate the work, time and money that distribution requires. This is a failing to many NGOs in South Africa, where often annual reports, newsletters and other publications are left in store rooms to collect dust.

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MEDIA CONTACTS ORGANISATION

TELEPHONE

FAX

Athlone News

4884230

4884615

Bush Radio

4485450

4485451

Cape @ 6

4308100

4391397

Cape Argus

4884768

4884156

Cape Argus Community News

4884911

4884615

Cape Docta

6911606

6911606

Cape Flats Mirror

6382810

6911606

Cape Review

4235881

4235891

Cape Talk Radio

4881500

4881550

Cape Times

4884760

4884717

CCfm Radio

7825551

7826293

City News

4194199

4194321

City Vision

4063145

4063146

Die Burger

4062158 / 2222

4062913

Die Rapport

4063333

4062934

Eikestadnuus

8872840

8839538

E-tv

4814500

4814510

Fine Music Radio

4803180

4803174

Kfm

418 7000

4188647

Khayelitsha News

4194199

4194567

Mail & Guardian

242090

242417

Metro Burger

4062217

4062939

Metro Burger East

4062222

4062939

Mhlobo Wenene Radio (Xhosa)

4308100

4308416

Molo Songololo

4485421

4474997

Plainsman

4884230

4884615

Peninsula Times

4062121

4063137

Peoples Express

733888

736036

RADIO OR TV

44

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ORGANISATION

TELEPHONE

FAX

Radio 702

4881500

4881550

Radio 786

6376854 / 5

6374798

Radio Atlantis

0226-21294

0226-21294

Radio C-flat

7041100

736036

Radio Fmr

4803180

222988

Radio Good Hope

4308276

4308267

Radio Helderberg

024-8527483

024-8527482

Radio Kfm

4187788

4188478

Radio Lotus

031-3625111

031-3625206

Radio Matie

8084814

8083735

Radio Metro

011 71426 31

011 7142631

Radio p4

4068900

4068960

Radio Tygerberg

9132378

9135334

Radio Voice of the Cape

4186141

222826

Radio Xhosa

4341155

4391397

Radio Zibonele

3619344

479483

Rapport

215420 code 49440

4062934 / 4615

SABC Journalist

4803220

480

SABC Radio News

4308202

4391397

SABC Regional

4184616

4184616

SABC Training Department

011-7143552

011-7146258

Sunday Argus

4884911

4884075

Sunday Times

4881777

4881778

Sunday Times Metro

4881777

4881778

Swartland Monitor

0224-23817

0224-23818

The Big Issue

4486690

4486691

The Business Day

4884779

235831

The Sowetan

011 471 4000

011 4714000

Tyger Burger

9486157

9461971

Weekly Mail

4624688

4613203

Weskus Nuus

02281-31483

02281-32487

Weslander

02281-31251

02281-32487

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