The Media’s guiding of issues

This blog has covered a lot of issues concerning the influence and power of the media has upon campaigning. The desire of campaigners to win media attention is of great importance as the media provides access to their largest audience, not just those who are interested in campaigning or the issue at hand. When the objective of a campaigner is to gain media attention, they can fall into the trap of only selecting campaign issues that the media will be interested in. Big organisations such as Avaaz will focus on issues that will get media attention but what about issues that don’t, are they less important?

Perhaps the key to answering this question is to understand what attracts media attention and what doesn’t. This seems like a fair discussion for campaigning techniques, but choosing your issue based on media attention doesn’t feel very ethical. Choosing your campaign based on it’s whether it can achieve it’s objectives is a different matter, as it doesn’t have to limit what issue you select, just maybe your goals.

The International NGO Training and Resource Center states that the media are attracted by the campaigns messages and activities and provide extra publicity. If this the case then surely all campaigns could achieve this? Unfortunately not. What attracts media attention is not just messages and activities it’s also; selection bias, location, issue type, news routines and timing.

Ultimately there is no objective answer for what issues are more or less important, but there is more of an answer for what makes an issue more important to the media. Therefore the decision of big organisations to select attention grabbing campaigns, tells of the significances that they place on the mass media.




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