Saturday, 28 September 2013

How to Positively Engage with the Media (short version)

This is a really important post, please read either this one or the short version.

Part A : Report on a talk by Martin Moore entitled "How to Positively Engage with the Media : Strategies for British Muslims"

Part B : Report on a Media Awareness Workshop by Engage


Part A: How to Positively Engage with the Media : Strategies for British Muslims
Bobbers Mill Community Centre recently hosted a fascinating talk by Martin Moore entitled "How to Positively Engage with the Media : Strategies for British Muslims".This post is very shortened summary of the full report which can be found here

Martin Moore has worked in the news media for over a decade and is now director of the Media Standards Trust, an organisation that aims to foster high standards in news media.

The talk covered four main areas...:

1) Is there a problem with the portrayal of Islam in the media?

Whilst there is much good reporting, there is a serious problem with overall media bias. For example, a report has commented that there are negative framings of Islam in 26% of stories compared to only 2% of stories that show Muslims to hold common moral values.

Why no mention in the media of Muslim run foodbanks?

2) If so, why?
Martin explained that one reason for the poor reporting of Muslims was that media organisations had a significant lack of knowledge about faiths, especially Islam. 3) Does it matter?
Yees, it does matter. Biased reporting increases hate crime, encourages far right organisation and affects the behaviour of public institutions.

4) What can be done?
Engage : It is important to engage with the media by meeting with journalists, writing (both positively and challegingly) to the local media and sharing events with the local media so that a relationship can be built with them.

Inform : Help the media do its job by providing useful information, background and resources to them.

Challenge : Journalists can be quite thin skinned and sensitive to criticism, particularly if the criticism is well argued, evidence based, rational and delivered on a person-to-person level by email. Blog posts and Tweets also important communication channels.

An important point that was made was that Muslims, and Muslim organisations, had am important role to play in presenting a diversity of opinion. These interactions, challenging and praising, need to be on a variety of subjects, including those that are not exclusively "Islamic".

Why isn't the Muslim community fighting to protect the NHS?

Martin Moore at Bobbers Mill Community Centre


Report on a Media Awareness Workshop by Engage
The workshop was an excellent event, and it was great to see the presenters allowing so much interaction from the audience. Critically, Engage do not just preach about what people should be doing in terms of social action - they actually do it!!

As one might expect, the workshop covered a lot of the same ground as Martin Moore's talk, but there were still plenty of eye opening snippets of information worth noting :

Media Reach
The Sun and the Daily Mail are easily the biggest two newspapers in the UK

The BBC provides 45% of news output in the UK, and Radios 1,2 and 4 have have of the UK radio audience

Online, BBC news also has the largest audience share (24%) followed by MailOnline (16%) and then the Guardian, Telegraph and Yahoo (10-11%)

Social Media is a disruptive technology. The rise of Citizen Journalism, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging etc mean that people can get there news from a variety of sources

The Media is the "Fourth Estate" (the other three being the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary) - but whereas the Media can destroy any politician or judge, there is no-one who can truly hold the media to account.

One of the Engage Team presenting the workshop

Regulating / Challenging Print Media Output
"Letters to the editor" have a high chance of being published. More formally, complaints should be directed to the Press Complaints Council, probably using sections of the PCC code are Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 12 (Discrimination)

Some complaints are successful, some are not

Regulating / Challenging Broadcast Media Output
In the case of the BBC, complain to them directly - you MUST use the word "complaint" or your challenge will be dismissed. It is likely that you will refer to sections 3 (Accuracy), 4 (Impartiality), 11 (War, Terrorism and Emergencies) and 12 (Religion) of the BBC Editorial Guidelines. Remember, you MUST challenge within 30 days of the programme being aired.

For other broadcast media (both TV and radio) challenge via OFCOM, probably using sections 2 (Harm), 4 (Religion) or 5 (Impartiality) of the OFCOM Code.

Some complaints are successful, some are not .

What next?
Be Active !
Sign up to the Engage mailing list to receive Action Alerts
Engage with local and national media - postitively and well as to challenge, on any subject as well as "Islamic" issues. Checkout what Engage have been doing, and how they have been doing it, here . You can do this stuff too !!!

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Challenging the Daily Mail
Praising the BBC (see also here)
Challenging the BBC
The Best Thing About Living In The UK

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