How Educators Can Partner with the Media
At the 2020 State Leaders Institute, AACTE’s director of marketing and communications, Jerrica Thurman, shared some excellent “how-to,” exemplars, and resources that helped attendees understand How Educators Can Partner with Broadcasters to Keep Communities Informed. From the very basic level of helping us understand how each type of media outlet is organized and what drives each of their interests in news we might have to share, all the way to the very specific steps educators can take to sharpen our skills as subject matter experts, Thurman offered a session that all attendees valued.
The basics began with an eye-opening update about where most Americans get their news, revealing that local television, radio, and daily newspapers are still in the lead. In fact, Americans increased their average of watching local news from 4 hours to 5 hours per week over the last 15 years (RTDNA/Hofstra Surveys). Over the last 10 years, Pew Research surveys have also shown that the percentage of Americans who listen to radio (terrestrial or streaming) has increased from 25% to more than 50% over the last 10 years. Thurman laid this as the groundwork for educators to see that our potential audiences are seeking out more information sources during the same time period.
Considering this growth, now is a good time for educators to consider becoming a subject matter expert, a scholar activist, and/or a thought leader. To do so, educators need to cultivate seven basic traits that include five we can do: building a foundation of knowledge, continuing to educate ourselves in that area, finding our voice, participating on social media, and sharing our expertise. The two traits we should always be are a decision-maker in that area of expertise, and genuine—remain sincere with all stakeholders about our positions in our areas of expertise.
In addition to honing these seven traits, Thurman also explained how educators can build our own “platform” that brings all of these components together. Many people do this by creating their talking points, maintaining an active set of outlets or venues for sharing those talking points, and creating a portfolio of these “building blocks.” In particular, Thurman advocated that educators consider creating a website or blog that links to all the other components we feel comfortable developing (or may already be creating regularly but have not connected them to our platform). These components include an e-newsletter or mailing list of our own subscribers, occasional or regular articles or columns that we might write for various related outlets (like this AACTE Ed Prep Matters blog!), guest contributions to a wide variety of media outlets, a track record of our own research in our area of expertise, interaction with others who share this area of expertise, public speaking appearances, membership in specialized organizations, recurring media appearances, and of course, a social media presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. To hone each of these components, Thurman offered attendees of SLI access to AACTE members-only resources that provide examples and tips and how-to information. To wrap up the session, she invited all of us to learn more about getting started with AACTE’s Thought Leadership initiative, the last of the resources on the list below.
Sample Media Pitch:
Claudine G. Keenan is the dean of education at Stockton University’s School of Education.