Using the media to gain support

When running for office, candidates often turn to the media in order to gain support from voters or to raise awareness about a cause they are passionate about. They may run stories in the local newspapers or appear on the local news channels. They can even create their own blog or work with other blog writers (called "bloggers") to use the media in a way that helps get their point across.

While participating in the Kid Governor program, you will be thinking about the community issues that are important to you and figuring out ways that you can take action. One thing that you can do is use the media to raise awareness about your issue! You can use newspapers, television, and blogs to share your message, platform goals, fundraisers you are promoting, and awareness campaigns. Below you can read about how to use each media outlet.



Newspapers
Newspapers are an effective way to gain local media support for your community issue. There are two ways you can use newspapers to gain support:
  • Write a letter to the Editor - Anyone can write a letter to the Editor of their local newspaper about an issue they want to see changed. Often, the letters are published in the newspaper for readers to see! If you decide to write a letter to the editor, you should make clear points and observations in your writing and make sure to express some kind of opinion. Some newspapers limit how long your letter can be so ask an adult to help you check the newspaper's website for guidelines.
  • Submit a community news story - The second way that you can use newspapers is by submitting community news to your local paper. Community news is a section for stories and announcements about and from your community. Are you planning an awareness campaign, community drive, or special event around your issue? Do you want to share information about your issue and ask others to take action themselves? Then you should submit information to community news! Be clear in your writing and include why the issue is important in your community, your stance on the issue, how you are taking action, and what you want others to do to take action themselves. If you are planning a campaign, drive, or event, make sure you include specific details. To submit your community news, ask an adult to help you contact the paper with your story!



TV Stations

If you want to use television to talk about your community issue, you can contact your local public access channel or news station to tell them what you’re passionate about and your efforts to take action. For both public access and news stations, ask an adult to help you contact the organizer or producer for the channel. Using the local news can be especially helpful in promoting your message because so many people watch it. Asking your local news team to cover or talk about a fundraiser or awareness campaign that you are running can make it a very successful event!



Blogs

An easy way that you can promote your community issue and talk about taking action is by writing a blog! A "blog" is your own personal website where you can share your thoughts and ideas by writing "posts" - kind of like a diary. This is an easy and simple way to use the media because you don’t need to contact anyone to get your ideas out for people to read or watch. Blogs give you the chance to type out your thoughts and ideas and share them with people in your community and readers all around the world. All you have to do to start a blog is ask an adult to help you create an account on a hosting website such as Blogger, Weebly, or Wordpress, and start writing!



How to Succeed in Using The Media

Some tips for how to successfully use the media to gain support include: 
  1. Be honest and genuine. Honesty will make your audience more likely to agree with your ideas and opinions. Be honest and be yourself if you want to gain the support of your readers, listeners, and viewers. 
  2. Be respectful of ideas and opinions that are different from yours. Many people will have different ideas and opinions than you. You may not agree with them but it is important that you try to understand these different ideas. You should be open to changing your own ideas and opinions. Being respectful makes having a conversation easier, too, and you may even make a new friend!
  3. Always be factual. Make sure that before you post a judgement about something that you know everything you can about the subject first. If you don’t understand what you are talking about it can be difficult to have a discussion on the topic later.
  4. Take responsibility for what you write and say. You cannot hide behind the media. People often make mistakes and that is okay. When you make a mistake, though, make sure that you take responsibility and take appropriate actions. If you said something mean, apologize. If you were wrong about something, admit it and make a correction. If you don’t own your mistakes, it will be harder for people to find you to be credible. 
  5. Make sure to figure out the best way to reach your audience. This will be different for each media platform that you use. If you are using a blog, make sure to share it as much as you can and wherever you can. Include "tags" based on the subjects of your post so that more people will see it when they are searching for information about your topic. If you are going to have an article in the newspaper, tell people! Make sure that your audience knows to look out for what you wrote! 


What are YOU doing to make a difference?

We want to know! Email us at info@kidgovernor.org to let us know what issue you care about and what you're doing to make a difference. Perhaps you will get a shout-out on your Kid Governor's blog. 

No matter your age, we each have a voice and the ability to make a difference!