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Gaining A Voice

An 8 part training series.

Noam Chomsky.jpg


GAINING A VOICE  (GAV) guides you on how to gain a reporter’s sympathy so they will listen to your story/issue and help you gain wider exposure. Advertising takes money, but good media relations will give you attention you couldn’t buy.


In his Ottawa Citizen, May 27, 1997 review of the series, Patrick Dare says “Much of the series would be an eye opener for journalism students.” 


GAV was produced by ACT Productions Inc. with General Assembly Production Centre (GAPC) and sponsored by Media Resources Advisory Group (MRAG). Funding for these programs was provided by The Government of Ontario, Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, The Trillium Foundation, Department of Canadian Heritage and the Ontario Film Development Corporation.


GAV was first broadcast in 1997 on Vision TV.  TVOntario, The Knowledge Network in B.C., Access Alberta, and Saskatchewan Communications Network have also broadcast these programs.










Is a montage of images and statements about the media from people such as Pamela Wallin, Michael Enright, Noam Chomsky, Linda McQuaig and many more. This program presents the differing views on the media – “the media conspiracy”, the media as “left of centre”, the media as “mutual manipulation”. It gives you a general introduction to the media and issues of access.

Goes into the newsrooms of various radio, television and newspaper organisations and shows you the process of delivering news from the initial story meeting, to the gathering and assembling of the story. Knowing this will help you shape your story/issue and determine which aspects of your story/issue will be of interest to which media outlet.

Looks at the elements that go into making an event/issue/incident news worthy and of interest to a media outlet. Through a series of interviews and case studies viewers learn what questions news reporters ask which will help them determine the “news worthiness” of your story/issue/event. You will see stories as they happen and hear why some stories generate more media attention than others. As humans we all have stories to tell, this program helps you tell your story so it will get the attention it deserves.

Shows viewers the process involved in organizing a media campaign. By visiting different organizations, listening to people’s experiences and seeing some of the planning in action, viewers learn the various aspects involved in developing a media campaign.  Following the day to day activities of such groups as Greenpeace, Action Centre for Social Justice, Villa Marconi, Harmony House, The Alzheimer Society and Citizen Advocacy, viewers hear the decisions these organizations have to make to ensure the best results for their media campaign.

Is about connecting with the humans that are part of a media outlet. There is no news story until you have connected with an individual or a news outlet with whom you’ve established some type of rapport.  How do you do that?  How do you connect with these media types in a way that is positive and will ensure that they will want to know about your issue/event/story?  This program tells you about different methods and strategies to contact these newsmakers. You will hear from people such as Haroon Sidiquii and members of Greenpeace. They explain what works for them and what to avoid. The program will explore the do’s of contacting the media, the effectiveness of news releases, PSA’s, and the Internet.  News reporters will tell you when to contact them and how.

Looks at how specific organizations have targeted their audience. This program deals mainly with community groups and community media.  Most people have some type of involvement with an organization or a media outlet that is close to them and with whom they have a vested interest in an event/ issue/story. Understanding the interests of a group locally is a good way to understand how to target an audience and which media will most likely be interested in this group’s activities. Once you understand how to generate media interest to a local issue/event/story you then have some tools to help you generate interest to a wider audience.

Is a timeless program giving you tips on how to present yourself during a media interview. Reporters are human and will bring to the interview their own biases, attitudes, research or lack of research. As the interviewee, you will need to come prepared for these biases and attitudes.  This program has a more structured format. In it, individuals from different community groups were invited to be interviewed by reporters who were asked to take on specific biases, attitudes and knowledge of (or lack there of) the individual/event/issue. These interviews were then taped and presented to a panel of experienced broadcasters who analysed them and commented on whether or not the interviewee got his/her message across. These broadcasters give key points of what to avoid and what to focus on in order for you to give an interview that will focus on your event/story/issue and get your message out to the public.

Is a program that looks at the mechanisms that are/were in place to help balance the media coverage of your event/issue/story which you feel was misunderstood or misrepresented or ignored.  This program gives you examples of organisations and venues you can go to in order to have your case heard. You will meet people from the CRTC and the Ontario Press Council.  You will hear Muslim Women, the National Council of Japanese Canadians, and others who give you strategies and share with you their experience of raising awareness about their issues and concerns with the mainstream media.

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