How Your Nonprofit Can Talk Back to the Media

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

This is the essence of a recent article by Katherine K. Seeley in the New York Times on how the use of websites and blogs allows topical issues to balance mainstream journalism. Most of Seelye’s articles contain complaints about how news articles and broadcasts respond to media coverage. She writes that this practice ‘has led to very crude speech in which it seems normal to shout, discredit, delegitimize and belittle people who tell stories, choose their methodology and attribute them to often unfair motives. . “

Hmm. In the past, errors or misrepresentation of facts on the part of mainstream journalists were too easy to ignore. The subjects had no other resources other than letters to the editor to improve the situation.

Seeley seems to forget that all the writers, editors and producers (including herself) have a direction that defines every story they create. After all, everyone has a point of view. That’s what pushes us up the food chain. And if you abandon this orientation or point of view, they can develop into wrong, unfair and biased relationships.

Hot topics fight fire to withstand inaccurate lighting

In the article, zelier introduces the artillery of the responsible subjects. Armed with interview records, email exchanges and conversation notes, they publish this evidence on their websites and blogs and do their best to ensure that the content is picked up by Google and other research systems. This practice, Selier warns, has dangerous consequences for the future of journalism.


Author Dave Eggers posted a 10,000-word response to an article on his website in his memoir, “The Heartbreaking Work of a Stunning Genius,” which he considered inappropriate. Eggers used his website to explain what was wrong with the article, and backed up his response with e-mail correspondence with the article’s author, David Kirkpatrick (who requested that the emails remain confidential).

Bloggers are classified as a serious threat

Despite the variety of website responses to media coverage, responses through blogs can have an even greater impact. Seelye warns that “the power of blogging is exponential” if blog posts are available forever and for free, while magazine articles are likely to be placed in pay-per-view archives (e.g. the Times). In addition, bloggers are getting a habit of getting involved with each other, expanding the reach of each post.

She quotes blogger and former CNN host Rebecca McKinnon as saying, “If you’re one of the growing number of people blogging, now you have a place to fix it.”

But McKinnon softens her comments by reminding the public that the public has no time or desire to read sources regularly, and she will continue to search for informed news summaries. In my opinion, this is where journalists come. To convert a huge amount of source material into compelling and accurate reports with the lowest possible impact. And the original content acts as a useful backup when disagreements arise, allowing the audience to determine their own views on the problem.

Non-profit organizations, be careful and be prepared to add this strategy to your communications tube.

Audiences and actors change power over old media

What’s interesting here is that The Times acknowledges that these strategies “forced journalists to react differently, including greater openness about their methods and techniques and perhaps greater awareness of how they work. Filter the information.”

In fact, the ability to respond changes the balance of power when writing messages. And because it changes the flow of information, it also changes the traditional definitions of audience and media. Goodbye, messaging management. Hello, 2006.

You know that the way your nonprofit organization is represented in the media is critical to your success. I encourage you to read Seelye’s analysis of anti-media reports carefully and, if necessary, arm yourself with some of the response tactics described above.