In Whose Interest Do You Claim: The Public's Interest or Your Own?
|News Media and
|Look through the
newspapers, listen to the radio and watch television. Find out
which journalists work in your area of interest. Get together a short
chronology of the events to date. Keep it brief and to-the-point.
Contact a journalist in each media and start building a
relationship that will carry you through the entire process. Supply the
journalist with the chronology and a copy of the documents (from
others) that establish the points you make. (Always keep the
original documents.) Be ready for the opportunities as they present
along the way as your story unfolds. You're looking for a wider more
sustained media coverage than just one item, whether on radio,
newsprint or TV, or all three.
Understand the limitations of your own story. Most are not sufficiently significant to sustain (e.g.) a Four Corners program on ABC TV or even a mention on the radio. It may be urgent, even riveting (to you), but not rate a wider audience on (say) commercial radio or television from its perspective. However, don't be despondent; be realistic, because media coverage is only one of the tools available to prosecute your case.
There is a time and place for mass media coverage. Generally, this is sooner rather than later, as it gets it all out there and it improves your ability to obtain a better outcome. So remember, if an opportunity comes your way, take it, because it probably won't come again.
Educate yourself about the limitations imposed on the journalist by his/her editors and program managers and work within them with the journalist.
Grasp the fact that the public's (and your) interest is best served by keeping everything out there in the open. Understand that once the other party succeeds in getting you to keep things confidential, you've given away many of your best options. So be brave, because once you start down this path, it gets easier.
Don't be embarrassed or self-conscious. If anyone is to be embarrassed, let it be the one you've blown the whistle on, because he/she has something to be embarrassed about. You don't - and even if you do, it is better to minimize its potential in the hands of your detractors by clearing the deck early.