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Get Media Savvy Understanding the press
In this session Understanding media in and how it can work for you Exploring how and when research makes news
What is Media The media is a conduit through which voices, perspectives and lives are brought into the public sphere It plays a critical role in  facilitating social change  and  shaping public opinion  and attitudes. It can put a spotlight on critical developments that impact negatively and positively on people’s lives, as well as bringing to the fore issues often ignored and voices that are marginalised.  It has an  agenda-setting function , influences debate, thinking and priorities.
What is Media One of its most important roles within modern democracies is the  watchdog role  -- monitoring the performance and conduct of governments to ensure that they adhere to the promises and expectations of those who put them into power. This is often the source of conflict between media, the state and its institutions.
Understand the Media and how it can work for you The media’s guiding principles are accuracy, fairness, diverse views  and balanced representation.  Where the legal framework is conducive, there is a proliferation of media organisations and products and a plurality of voices and access to information. Where the legal framework is stifling  there is a lack of media diversity.
Get to grips with the different types of media Mainstream/mass media  – newspapers, magazines, television and radio. Caters to a diverse audience and usually funded through advertising. It can be privately or state-owned. Pros: still an important source of news Used by politicians, policy makers to gauge public opinion Cons: affected by income, literacy levels and distribution
Get to grips with the different types of media Community media  – limited to certain geographical areas and target groups. Provides for greater participation by the community in the editorial processes.  Pros: ability to focus on and cover issues of a particular community Cons: poor coverage and limited resources -- human and financial.
Get to grips with the different types of media New media  – internet, email, web portals, listserves and blogs. Opens space for civil society, special interest groups and individuals to disseminate information Pros: offers potential for citizen journalism Cons: can be misused -- users not necessarily guided by principles of journalism.
Media Ownership Media ownership influences the way media functions. Generally there are private, state and public media organisations.  Private media  are often guided by commercial and market considerations.  In Africa,  state-owned media  is prevalent and the state dictates the functions and operations of media organisations  Public media  are often guided by the interests of viewers and listeners who pay licences to access their services.
Who is Who: the key media players Journalists/ Reporter  (specialist beat reporters, features)   – Journalists are the ‘hunters and gatherers’ of news. It is critical to: identify which journalists cover your type of issues and develop a relationship with them. Send them background information, keep them up-dated of developments in your organization and share your diary with them.
Who is Who: the key media players Sub-Editors  -- determine the ‘end product’. They edit stories for structure, factual correctness, length and ensure it adheres to style guidelines. They also write headlines and captions for photographs.  Target this group for training and work with them to produce tools to help them do their work better.
Who is Who: the key media players Editors  –often designated based on the roles they play (Editor-in-Chief, Assignment, News, Features, Special Projects, Business, Financial, Obituaries, etc.). Also known as the gate-keepers because they decide what is published and what prominence it gets. They also guide journalist on the sources they would like to see in the story.  Seek their audience and make your work known to them. They should be the target for media advocacy to ensure that they include on their agenda, coverage of your issues.
Who is Who: the key media players Media Managers   –formulate and implement policy, make decisions on what is covered, how it will be done, by whom and with what resources.  For example, if your research shows that unemployment in the country is spiralling out of control, poverty levels will increase, threaten stability, etc. Work with this group to ensure economic coverage is high on their agenda.  Like other organisations, media organisations want to be seen as good role models on coverage of certain issues so they are open to ideas.
Who is Who: the key media players Owners and Governance structures (Board of Directors)  -  They ensure that the organisation operates within the framework of its statutes and mission but they are not involved in the day-to-day running of the organisation. They generally cannot influence the work of editorial staff.  It is important for them to understand your issues to help them in making policy recommendations to managers.
Plenary Brainstorm When does research make news?
Know what makes the News Prominence Timing Proximity Significance Human interest Disasters and conflict Out of the ordinary Quirks of science Factors that determine placement National interest Numbers of people affected Likely interest to the reader Commercial value of story
How and when research makes news Breakthroughs/award winning Human interest – links to people’s everyday realities Impact Research by minority groups - women New State of something type research, economy, education, health, etc. White papers, audits, commissions Government funded to feed into policy

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What is the Media? What makes News? AERC Workshop, 2010

  • 1. Get Media Savvy Understanding the press
  • 2. In this session Understanding media in and how it can work for you Exploring how and when research makes news
  • 3. What is Media The media is a conduit through which voices, perspectives and lives are brought into the public sphere It plays a critical role in facilitating social change and shaping public opinion and attitudes. It can put a spotlight on critical developments that impact negatively and positively on people’s lives, as well as bringing to the fore issues often ignored and voices that are marginalised. It has an agenda-setting function , influences debate, thinking and priorities.
  • 4. What is Media One of its most important roles within modern democracies is the watchdog role -- monitoring the performance and conduct of governments to ensure that they adhere to the promises and expectations of those who put them into power. This is often the source of conflict between media, the state and its institutions.
  • 5. Understand the Media and how it can work for you The media’s guiding principles are accuracy, fairness, diverse views and balanced representation. Where the legal framework is conducive, there is a proliferation of media organisations and products and a plurality of voices and access to information. Where the legal framework is stifling there is a lack of media diversity.
  • 6. Get to grips with the different types of media Mainstream/mass media – newspapers, magazines, television and radio. Caters to a diverse audience and usually funded through advertising. It can be privately or state-owned. Pros: still an important source of news Used by politicians, policy makers to gauge public opinion Cons: affected by income, literacy levels and distribution
  • 7. Get to grips with the different types of media Community media – limited to certain geographical areas and target groups. Provides for greater participation by the community in the editorial processes. Pros: ability to focus on and cover issues of a particular community Cons: poor coverage and limited resources -- human and financial.
  • 8. Get to grips with the different types of media New media – internet, email, web portals, listserves and blogs. Opens space for civil society, special interest groups and individuals to disseminate information Pros: offers potential for citizen journalism Cons: can be misused -- users not necessarily guided by principles of journalism.
  • 9. Media Ownership Media ownership influences the way media functions. Generally there are private, state and public media organisations. Private media are often guided by commercial and market considerations. In Africa, state-owned media is prevalent and the state dictates the functions and operations of media organisations Public media are often guided by the interests of viewers and listeners who pay licences to access their services.
  • 10. Who is Who: the key media players Journalists/ Reporter (specialist beat reporters, features) – Journalists are the ‘hunters and gatherers’ of news. It is critical to: identify which journalists cover your type of issues and develop a relationship with them. Send them background information, keep them up-dated of developments in your organization and share your diary with them.
  • 11. Who is Who: the key media players Sub-Editors -- determine the ‘end product’. They edit stories for structure, factual correctness, length and ensure it adheres to style guidelines. They also write headlines and captions for photographs. Target this group for training and work with them to produce tools to help them do their work better.
  • 12. Who is Who: the key media players Editors –often designated based on the roles they play (Editor-in-Chief, Assignment, News, Features, Special Projects, Business, Financial, Obituaries, etc.). Also known as the gate-keepers because they decide what is published and what prominence it gets. They also guide journalist on the sources they would like to see in the story. Seek their audience and make your work known to them. They should be the target for media advocacy to ensure that they include on their agenda, coverage of your issues.
  • 13. Who is Who: the key media players Media Managers –formulate and implement policy, make decisions on what is covered, how it will be done, by whom and with what resources. For example, if your research shows that unemployment in the country is spiralling out of control, poverty levels will increase, threaten stability, etc. Work with this group to ensure economic coverage is high on their agenda. Like other organisations, media organisations want to be seen as good role models on coverage of certain issues so they are open to ideas.
  • 14. Who is Who: the key media players Owners and Governance structures (Board of Directors) - They ensure that the organisation operates within the framework of its statutes and mission but they are not involved in the day-to-day running of the organisation. They generally cannot influence the work of editorial staff. It is important for them to understand your issues to help them in making policy recommendations to managers.
  • 15. Plenary Brainstorm When does research make news?
  • 16. Know what makes the News Prominence Timing Proximity Significance Human interest Disasters and conflict Out of the ordinary Quirks of science Factors that determine placement National interest Numbers of people affected Likely interest to the reader Commercial value of story
  • 17. How and when research makes news Breakthroughs/award winning Human interest – links to people’s everyday realities Impact Research by minority groups - women New State of something type research, economy, education, health, etc. White papers, audits, commissions Government funded to feed into policy