Grassroots Example #2 for Generating and Leveraging Media

February 7, 2012
by Ken Patterson for Activists Ken and Linda Schatz

Ken and Linda Schatz, and the Tampa Bay RESULTS group pulled off a trifecta this week. They had an radio interview on the local radio station WMNF. In the radio interview they talked about the oped they got published, the work they’ve been doing with their members of Congress, and the Global Fund. They also, very strategically, set up an outreach meeting for Wednesday February 8, which they were able to advertise on the radio program. Brilliant! 

The thing is, they orchestrated all of this. They had been working on the oped for some time, but asked specifically that it be published on the same day as the radio program. Knowing they had the media going their way, they decided to take advantage of the radio platform and organized an outreach meeting at a public venue in Tampa.

In three years since arriving in Tampa, Ken and Linda’s group has developed lunch-date relationships with editors of both Tampa area papers (one conservative, the other more liberal). And now they have a relationship with the local radio station. This is all do to their persistent focus on building strong, personal relationships with the media. A couple of lessons:

  1. Even though the media environment has changed, we can still engage editors in learning about and writing on our issues. It takes time to get them comfortable with any single issue, but if we continue to feed and inform them, they will start to know the issue. If they aren’t ready to write, we can usually get them to publish opeds as a starting place.
  2. Radio is a great way to get the message out. Most of us have local radio stations that want to hear about what’s happening in the community. We are happening in the community, so why not contact them to be interviewed about our work and upcoming events?
  3. Building relationships take persistence–stay with it!

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