Working With the Media
Put someone in charge.
Whether you are planning an intensive
publicity campaign or getting coverage for a
single event or program, you must plan ahead
to be successful. You may want to create a
Communications Committee to coordinate
publicity for your local union.
Plan how you will describe
the issues. It is important to talk about
the issues in a way that resonates with the
local citizens. Make a connection
between your cause and the welfare of the
people whose support you want. For example,
you can demonstrate how a good union
contract will help keep wages in other
community businesses at a good level.
Plan to let Teamsters
members do the talking. One of the biggest
pitfalls for any union is to appear to be
just another large institution that cares
more about its own growth than the welfare
of its members. A good way to solve this is
by highlighting your members in the media.
Members will give the stories a
Take advantage of breaking
stories. When you hear about a news item of
concern to the Teamsters, contact the media
immediately and offer the union's comment.
Create an event. A rally or
press conference is an effective way to
create news. It gives reporters something to
Help Reporters Do Their Job
Get to know the reporters
who cover your local. Reporters are workers
too. How much coverage you get depends on
how easy it is for reporters to cover the
story. Invite your local reporters over to
meet some of your members and officers. Show
them that the union is a group effort of
local people with legitimate concerns about
improving their jobs.
Provide reporters with the
tools to do their job. Reporters generally
need three things:
Ideas for story angles: Why
should they cover this? Why is it
Facts: Don't make the
reporters do anymore work than is necessary.
Give them background sheets, talking points,
or any other non-confidential documents that
help to substantiate the story.
out news releases. One organized
way to help reporters is with a news release
full of quotes, facts, and background on
your issue. It is particularly helpful when
there are many reporters who need to receive
your information at the same time.
Use Free Space and Air Time
Community Calendars. Most
newspapers have a community calendar of some
sort. Listing your event is this calendar is
an easy way to inform a lot of people.
Talk shows. With the
increased listenership of AM radio, there
are more talk shows on more stations than
out if your local radio stations have a news-oriented talk show to appear on.
Public service time.
Television and radio stations are required
by law to provide air time for the discussion
of important public issues and for public
service messages. How they meet this
requirement is up to them. Find out who is
in charge of public service programming at
the local television station and meet with
them to learn the guidelines getting your
message on the air.
Cable access television.
Cable television providers have to provide
the citizens access to their channels. As
part of a cable provider's local franchise
contract, they have to maintain a studio and
train the public on the use of it. The
public can then air programming on whatever
topics they wish. This is a very good tool
to get some free air time for you local.
Paying for Publicity
Purchasing advertising is an
especially good idea when:
The members or workers you
are trying to organize need the
psychological boost that the high visibility
of advertising can bring.
The ads would not only
further your short-term goals, but also
improve the Teamsters' image among workers'
families and the public.