Changing Media Universe Creates New Challenges, Opportunities for Nonprofits

Changing Media Universe Creates New Challenges, Opportunities for Nonprofits

By Jeff Alexander

The Internet is causing profound changes in the media, many of which will affect how non-governmental organizations inform the public about their programs.

Budget cuts have greatly reduced the number of reporters-especially environmental reporters-at newspapers, radio stations and television stations. The shrinking of America’s traditional media outlets has made it harder than ever to get coverage of your group’s work.

That’s the bad news.

The good news: The phenomenal popularity of the Internet and the rise of social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, has opened the doors to a whole new universe of communications possibilities. Don’t ignore the traditional media. Getting a newspaper or broadcast media outlet to do an article on your organization’s work is still immensely valuable.

But one of the great features of the Internet is that it allows anyone with basic computer skills to become a one-person communications operation. Here’s how to get started:

 

  • Create a Facebook page (www.facebook. com) for your organization or issue. Facebook is wildly popular and FREE. If you’re apprehensive about Facebook, build a Web site or pay someone to design one for you.
  • Start a blog: You can create a blog for free at WordPress (www.wordpress.com) or TypePad (www.typepad.com). Blogging is a great way to continuously update your group’s work and comment on relevant issues
  • Get a Twitter account (www.twitter.com) to chat about issues and make important announcements.
  • Include your Twitter, Facebook and Web page addresses on all e-mails your group sends out.
  • When submitting a press release to newspapers, radio or TV stations, make sure it is concise (one page is usually sufficient), accurate and conveys why your event is important.
  • Write a letter to the editor or Op Ed for your local newspaper. This gives you a chance to tell your side of the story, in your words.

 

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