Tuesday, May 5, 2009

April Lunch Recap: Environmental Communications

A recap by Debbie Friez (@dfriez on Twitter)

Speakers: Raquel Garcia, Earth Day Network communications manager, and Adora Andy, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spokesperson

Garcia began by discussing Earth Day Network’s challenge in defining their audience. Diversity is very important to them, because the Earth belongs to everyone. So, theirs is a message of inclusion. In using the term “Green Generation” they mean everyone, and stressed that global warming is happening to everyone, now.

Andy is challenged to communicate scientific conclusions and information in a conversational way. She says it helps to think about finding a way to reach the single mom with three kids. She went on to say people are not interested in global warming, but they are interested in water quality. Because global warming is not easily understood, she has banned it from all EPA press releases.

EPA released a school air quality study soon after Andy joined the department. They gave an exclusive to USA Today, and allowed the reporters extra time to research all the information, as well as access to several experts and researchers as an effort to help the paper get the story right. The day the study was released the story ran in USA Today. Additionally, EPA released a press release, and provided materials to the parents of students in the effected schools. Their goal was to help the parents feel involved.

Both speakers answered several questions and gave tips for getting your message out to the media:
  • A sound bite should show emotion or opinion.
  • Put statistics that show a problem upfront in your release. Then, show the solutions within the release.
  • Insert urgency in your message, but don’t be an alarmist.
  • Look for ways to reach new audiences.
Were you at the April lunch? What lessons did you learn from our great speakers? Let us know!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Two links of interest on communicating climate change: http://www.pewclimate.org/communicating



Pew's Communicating Climate Change page links to various articles and studies of interest on this topic and Broder's article points out that 'climate change' is easier to sell than 'global warming'. A valid point.