04 October 2006

Media Coverage

A word on media coverage, the industry in which I currently find employment, prompted both by a conversation with one of the folks opposed to some aspects of the Rock Creek mine this morning and the ADN's first in-house article on the opposition.

The media can be a powerful springboard for causes, issues, and events. At KNOM, we are glad to lend that springboard to most anyone who wants it (provided you have some threshold degree of legitimacy). But we have lots of issues to cover and lots of work to do and we are most likely to lend you our platform if you make our job as easy as possible for us.

Let us know what you are doing and schedule time with us. We would love to make time for you but we don't always have time to go chasing every person who comes to town. The phone call this morning was to make sure we got some time with Dave Chambers of the Center for Science and Public Participation. We got the time with him but wouldn't have had we not been called. The people who find themselves (or their issues) on air on a recurring basis are folks who are really good at keeping us in their loop and convincing us their issue is newsworthy. (With Rock Creek, we are plenty convinced this is newsworthy.)

Plan events. Events are the easiest way to cover an issue because we can do so without showing partiality or compromising our objectivity. On the cyanide issue, our best coverage of the opposition has been their protest at Governor Murkowski's appearance in Nome and their comments to the common council. The ADN didn't get into this issue until the CitizenAlliance scheduled a fairly high-profile event, namely this evening's presentation by Dave Chambers. If we've been giving NovaGold air time, it's been because they've been holding public meetings and events that are easy for us to cover.

Yes, there is some burden on the news media to report what is important even if it's not easy. But a local radio station doesn't have the resources to support a Woodward and Bernstein and the easier our job is, the more likely you're going to get access to our springboard.

So go ahead. Schedule press conferences (even small ones work), address the Common Council, start a letter writing campaign, do whatever. But do something. We'd love to cover it.

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