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  • Celia Alario, Media Strategist and Media Alliance Trainer
  • Link to Presentation

Meta Vendettas™

  1. Work the corporate but cultivate the independent media (Think of interim strategy-reclaim ‘mainstream’, prioritize alternative & indy media, refer journalists to good alternative & indy pieces)
  2. Re-define the expert (Who has the political space to carry the issue? But who should be the messenger? How can your conversations with reporters impact their perceptions? How can respected ‘experts’ help?
  3. Widen the shot (Literally-talk to producers & camera people & figuratively-pitch features & in-depths, design collaborative strategies, ‘just say no’ to the trite & ill-framed; language in the meta)
  4. Promote Diversity & Build Solidarity (Challenge the ‘isms’ & stereotypes in framing and messaging, frame & message for a shift in power, look for ‘breakthrough’ messengers who can initially win over your audience)
  5. Watch your language! (Language for transformation, our words not theirs, reclaim language, find words that challenge stereotypes & serve all, promote details of solution, language for what you want, not just what you don’t want, think values and emotions!
  6. Create the conditions for reporters to be brave & bold (Honesty, integrity, challenge; never let a bad angle become a story; give them what they need in the timeframes and forms they need it; the 5-year old approach)

Building Relationships: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

  • Introduce yourself before you need to make the pitch calls
  • Know the outlets (watch the show, research the reporter’s past work, understand who reads/watches/listens and why)
  • Intend to build relationships, not just get the story!
  • Know deadlines & communication preferences & honor them
  • Learn how stories are assigned
  • Create a "rap"
  • Have something in writing before you call
  • Be available to journalists
  • Always be completely honest
  • Say thank you and be mindful how you offer feedback
  • Know who their messenger will be
  • Understand who spins ‘them’ (learn the ways of the big PR firms)
  • Avoid "no comment"
  • There is not such thing as ‘off the record’
  • Exclusives and Embargoes
  • Leverage the Coverage--Ask for the uplink!

BEFORE the Interview

  • Develop your messages and translate into shorter sound bites
  • Control the frame
  • Think about multiple angles, pegs and hooks
  • Know your talking points and be well practiced; practice in front of the mirror, in front of your friends and if possible even in front of a camera
  • Ask the reporter a series of questions LONG before they ask you any!
    • Find out what kind of a story the outlet is doing (how long, what angle, etc)
    • What topics will be discussed in the interview?
    • Who else is being interviewed?
    • What’s the interview format?
    • When will it air?
    • Where will it appear (and can you leverage that for more)?


  • BRIDGE: Bring the focus back to your key messages when responding to questions, by building a "bridge" from the question asked back to your key points.
    • Question: "Aren’t your tactics a bit too extreme?"
    • Answer: "We’re here to put an end to the extreme ___ by ___{your points)"
  • FLAG: For signaling importance of key messages, use a phrase that alerts the listener that this is the part that really matters (it flags what you are about to say as the part where the print reporter should begin scribing, the tv and radio reporters should grab their actuality, the audience should pay attention)
    • The most important thing is…
    • The story no one is telling is…
    • The only way is…
    • Anyone who cares about {this issue} should know that….
  • TOUCH N’ GO: You can "touch" on something that helps set the context, pointing at your frame or referencing the discussion and then "go" to your talking points
    • In the post 9-11 world….
    • Just like Watergate….