Advocacy

While it is easy for audiences to be reached by the media (for example, by listening to the radio, watching television, or picking up a newspaper); the access for an individual to go inside the media, on the other hand, is harder, and often impossible, especially with national media and large television networks, for an unknown citizen to discuss an issue, a problem, or an opinion of his/her own. In most cases, groups and associations have more opportunity to be heard than a single individual.

Every day, most journalists receive phone calls from people defending a cause, who want media coverage, and, thus, journalists have to select according to what is relevant, to societal norms, the opinions of their colleagues or bosses, and regarding how audiences might react, according to Lawrence Wallack and colleagues.

When activists want to have access to television to express their position, for example, about environmental issues, climate change, and global warming, they often face the same institutional barriers: lack of time, no specific program to host them, and too many topics to cover. Often, the local media become the easiest entry to present a point. National networks and global networks like CNN (or Al-Jazera in Katar and for the Middle East) are among the most difficult media to reach. Some community media, often run by persons who do not get paid, can add another dimension. In his book about advocacy communication, John P. McHale recognizes both local and cable television as the most efficient media for people who want to advocate environmental causes and topics, because these channels are easier to access and have an audience that is often overlooked by their competitors. In some cases, these parallel media can become a first step in a strategy toward creating a broader media presence.

sEE ALsO: Media, Books and Journals; Media, Internet; Public Awareness; Technology; United States.

bibliography. Yves Laberge, "Science, experts, technologie: analyse qualitative du discours de la publicité institutionnelle télévisée," in Suzanne De Cheveigné, ed., Hermès. Cognition, communication, politique (CNRS, 1997); Live Earth Concert, www.liveearth.org (cited November 2007); J.P. McHale, Communication and Change: Strategies of Social and Political Advocates (Rowman & Little-field, 2004); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), www.nasa.gov (cited November 2007); Society of Environmental Journalists, www.sej.org (cited November 2007); Lawrence Wallack, et al., News for a Change: An Advocate's Guide to Working With the Media (SAGE, 1999).

Yves Laberge Université Laval

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