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2. Campaign planning
3. Ideas for media events
4. Politics – as well as policies
5. Useful campaign accessories (and other ideas)
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Generating and directing media coverage is a difficult ‘dark art’ at the best of times. It is always a challenge to find original, relevant and understandable messages and ideas, which at the same time are not too ‘dumbed down’. Photos have to be compelling and eye-catching, but if too extravagant it could appear to be a stunt or make your candidate look like a clown. The good news is that during an election campaign, papers, radio and TV stations are covering and giving lots of priority to political stories. The bad news? All of your competitors are fighting you for those column inches and to dominate the airwaves. So what can you do to gain an advantage?
Try to maintain positive, professional relations with media. Even if it does seem as though they are not treating you as well as you deserve. Also DO try to keep an eye on how much coverage other parties are getting: the number of front page stories, photos published and stories carried prominently on TV and radio news bulletins. Different countries have different rules: you might be entitled to as much as your share of the vote in the last election, in the last poll – or you might not be entitled to anything at all!
If you are getting disproportionately ignored, do contact the news editor. Try to make the case that you’ve got a good/unique story to tell and their readers/audiences would benefit from hearing it. Ask if there is anything you could change about how you are organising your events to improve the likelihood of coverage (timing, notification, structure and messages could all be tweaked to help get better coverage). You can be sure that your counterparts in other parties are complaining if they’re getting a bad deal. It almost certainly will annoy your media colleagues, but sometime the loudest voice will dominate.
It can be useful during a campaign to conduct regular media briefings. For bigger parties this might be daily. Or for parties who get less attention from the media, every couple of days. Ideally, it will be in a regular spot so that journalists remember the location! This also reduces transportation of backdrops, lights, podiums, etc.