Media coverage is a powerful tool that we can use to pressure our elected officials to stop and prevent genocide.
Want help getting media to your event? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Why is local media coverage important?
Media tells elected officials what their constituents want. If constituents want something enough, an elected official will support it. Legislators often have staffers/interns who search for op-eds or letters that mention the legislator. They see an article or opinion piece in a local paper as a strong indicator of constituent opinion in their districts. Additionally, if an article is written about a rally, legislators will see about the enormous amount of people that care about an issue.
Media also gets the word out to potential activists, broadening the anti-genocide coalition. Your elected officials aren’t the only ones who read the newspaper, listen to radio, or watch TV. Being featured in an article, or even writing your own letters and op-eds, can pull more people into the anti-genocide movement. The more constituents who get involved, the more interest an elected official will take in fighting genocide. So remember, when you write a letter to the editor or give an interview, always provide ways for interested people to get involved in the fight against genocide. You can’t stop a genocide without knowing about it; and media informs readers of the ongoing atrocities. The more media an issue gets, the bigger it becomes.
How can you use your local media to influence your elected official?
If your legislator supports anti-genocide legislation, let them know you are paying attention by writing a letter (see example). If a legislator is not supporting enough legislation, write a letter criticizing their inaction. You can also show broad constituent support by hosting events and getting the press to cover them.
Community papers love covering student events; you just have to tell them about it. Learn how to send media alerts and press releases or do follow-up calls! Easy tools like this can be extremely effective in garnering media attention. After getting coverage, what’s the next step? E-mail the articles to your elected official’s office! This will let them know how many constituents care about the issue!