Sustaining our environment

Characteristics, strengths & weaknesses - Mass media

Mass media is used to communicate to large numbers of people. It is a useful method for raising an issue, encouraging debate and for making an issue more salient. The information is presented through various media and the public can generally choose to read, listen, view or disregard the material offered. The only way to ensure the media cover your project is through paid advertising, but this is expensive and there is still no guarantee that your target group will take in your information. If paid advertising is not possible, there is value in examining opportunities to access community-service information for both print and electronic media. Publicity, such as a media release, is the most popular and useful method for achieving possible coverage of your project. Careful selection of the media that are most likely to be accessed by your target group will also improve the reach of your information.

  • Paid advertising can be run through:
    • the print media (such as journals, magazines and newspapers)
    • the electronic media (such as television, radio and cinema)
    • outdoor media (e.g. billboards/poster boards on trains, buses and taxis).
  • Publicity can be obtained through:
    • interviews and talk-back sessions on radio
    • media releases and interviews with the press and television media
    • launches, announcements and news conferences.

Strengths

  • has the potential to reach large numbers of people
  • is a convenient and generally credible information source
  • can increase the perceived credibility and worth of your project.

Weaknesses

  • the high cost of advertising space
  • possible distortion (dilution or exaggeration) of information during editing
  • communication is generally one-way (letters to the editor and talk-back radio overcome this to a limited degree)
  • added headlines or leading paragraphs may not support the main message.

Tips

Media interest is often aroused by:

  • the unusual, the latest, the sensational
  • action, drama and emotion
  • 'stars': well-known, entertaining identities
  • spectacles and visuals
  • 'people' stories
  • public-interest stories: who, what, when, where, why.

Paid and unpaid media which you could consider include:

  • local and metropolitan newspapers
  • community newsletters
  • community and ethnic radio
  • ethnic press
  • trade, business and industry newsletters and journals
  • other journals and magazines
  • religious media
  • youth, seniors and women's network publications.

Page last updated: 27 February 2011