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Americans United: Student Affiliates

Supporting church-state separation from campus.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Creating Your Message

  • There are a number of considerations that should be taken into account when you’re working with the media; your most powerful tool will be the way you present your message. You will be most effective by developing a message that is simple, distinct and persuasive.
  • Your message also must draw clear differences between your organization, other organizations and your opposition.
  • Also, don’t bother trying to convince opponents that they are wrong—it’s a waste of your valuable time and energy. You want to talk to people who you have a reasonable chance of convincing. Your message needs to convey why and how your message matters to each constituency. Addressing a specific concern or issue with each constituency is key in order for your message to be not only received but understood.
  • It is important to run your press releases—your “message” so to speak—past the AU Communications Department for their input before releasing it to the public. One of the keys to getting our message across to the general public is repetition. Don’t make the mistake of thinking repetition is dull and rude. Keep in mind that corporations spend millions of dollars on advertising to convey a single message.
  • If you are working with an AU chapter, or in coalition with other organizations on an issue, select a person to be responsible for all press activities. Then select someone to be the primary spokesperson.
  • Create and maintain a media list:
    • The list should include local (and regional) newspapers, television stations, radio stations, wire services, bulletins or newsletters of houses of worship, and the media contacts of coalition partners.
    • Include all pertinent information, such as: type of media, name or call letters of the TV or radio station, phone and fax numbers, addresses, e-mail address, deadlines, names of editors, news directors, assignment editors and reporters.
    • You want to keep your coalition partners informed of what you are doing, and they should do the same for you. Ask to be placed on their media lists as well.