How do you get your voice heard in a world already saturated with countless media options? That was one of the questions asked at the “Why Journalism Matters: News Literacy in a Democracy” event held by the University of Washington Department of Communication and Libraries this past Saturday. According to Thanh Tan, former journalist of the Seattle Times, whether you’re a seasoned journalist or someone who wants to engage more with local news agencies there are seven tricks that might just help you get your voice heard.
The 7 Know’s to getting your voice heard:
- Know your message: What are you trying to say? Tell your story.
- Know your timeline: When should you make your point?
- Know your audience: Who are you trying to influence?
- Know your platforms: What does your audience read/watch?
- Know your influencers: Read different sources and support them!
- Know your rules: What are your word limits? Submission guidelines?
- Know how to amplify: How are you going to spread your message?
One trick that Thanh recommended for anyone who wants to have their voice heard is to cold call or email their local reporters— just make sure that you have a clear and concise point to your pitch. She suggested that even before reaching out to these reporters, that you should research them first, find out their backgrounds and interests and make sure that they align with the message or story you are trying to put out to the world. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t respond, but instead look back at your pitch and redraft it in a way that will drive attention to your key issue/message/story.
(Featured image: http://mediatel.co.uk/newsline/2015/09/18/do-newspapers-have-a-future/)
But, what if you’re not a reporter and just love reading the news? How can we all become more media literate and identify when we are being reported the facts over some random person’s opinion? Well, it’s actually pretty easy.
News outlets aim to report the facts in an unbiased fashion leading audiences to form their own opinion on a subject versus the provocation of thought. Thanh quoted Frank Blethen, CEO of the Seattle Times, that opinion pieces are meant to “engage and enrage,” they are meant to make people think and react to what they read in a negative or positive way.
One thing that Thanh had really left me with was that it is okay to have a healthy skepticism of the news we consume daily. She encouraged the group to question what we read, check the sources that are cited, engage reporters via a written letter or through social media. Don’t be afraid to get your voice heard.