Tag: cause

Using Media-Friendly Images to Get Your Message Out

February 3, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More
Using Media-Friendly Images to Get Your Message Out

At the recent True Spin Conference in Denver, I attended a session titled “How to Create Media-Friendly Imagery,” presented by Jason Salzman, who is the co-founder of Effect Communications, and the author of Making The News: a Guide for Activists and Nonprofits (1998). Salzman was also instrumental in putting together the True Spin Conference.

Salzman began his session with the idea that television is still the dominant news source for national and international news, according to a 2008 Pew survey. It is an undeniable fact that you need visual imagery to get your story onto the TV news. Visual imagery is also important for getting your story into local newspapers, another news source for many people.

Maybe you’re thinking that newspapers and television stations should simply be reporting on important stories, whether or not there is an accompanying clever visual image. That’s a nice idea that doesn’t happen in the real world. You absolutely need to decorate your stories with creative visuals, or else your stories will be invisible to local media. As Salzman says, “This is often ridiculous stuff, but it works.” He presented the conference gathering with a long list of types of visual imagery. He added, “When you see some of these things, you might think they are juvenile or stupid, but they really work. As long as your imagery is on message, it’s good.”

Now I know that some of you probably are still thinking that you’re not going to sell out– you would rather be dignified than be accused of being silly or desperate to get coverage for your important issue. Salzman encouraged the audience members to get over their inhibitions, however. “Stunts can be worthwhile. People forget the source, but they remember the message.”

What kinds of visual imagery seem to catch the attention of the local news media so that you can get your story some real attention? I will walk through Jason’s list of seventeen media-imagery techniques, one-by-one. He has graciously allowed me to reprint some of his slides to illustrate these ideas (using these images makes sense, of course, given the topic).

1. Costumes. Salzman stated that costumes are the “oldest and best” use of imagery available. By dressing up as a giant pea pod, he was successful in gaining considerable media attention while making the point that George W. Bush and John McCain were “two peas in a pod.” As you can see, he wore his pea pod costume at his session.

As another of many examples, Salzman described how mobs of cameras once gathered around real pigs that were part of a protest of pork barrel projects. A member of the audience asked whether it would be better to surprise the media by suddenly pulling out the costume, but Salzman strenuously disagreed. “Don’t surprise the media. Tell the media you’ll be there [dressed up in your costume].” Members of the media love stories with images. “Tell them you’ll be there and tell them how you’ll be dressed. This will dramatically increase your odds of showing up on the news.”

2. Dramatize a Phrase. Salzman pointed to an example of a huge “budget pie,” to illustrate a story that one-half of discretionary spending went to the military.

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3. Banners. If the timing is right, banners can work beautifully. Let the cameras pan those big banners! He gave the example of the New York garbage barge (at left).

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Judging the violence of others

January 15, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More
Judging the violence of others

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt has written an excellent multidisciplinary work on the meaning of life, entitled The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (2006). I am presently reading Haidt’s book for the second time, paragraph by paragraph.  This is clearly one of the books I would take to a desert island if I were […]

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