[eDebate] Media Strategy?

Jay Hawk ostertaglives
Fri Aug 15 10:24:33 CDT 2008

an activity that produces so many communications and argument
professionals, I am surprised that I see no evidence that the activity
has put together a thoughtful response to this media coverage.  As of
now, the media has had to roam around looking for people to talk about
the activity, and many of the people they have found do not know
anything about the actual debate activity.

Just because people
have a communciations background does not mean that the activity should
not consult with alums who actually deal with the media for a living. 
If the acitvity wants to be taken seriously, it should approach this
controversy with the seriousness and strategic effort that you would
find in the private sector.

At a minimum, there should be the following:

Press statement from CEDA that can be distributd in resonse to media
inquiries.  This should include a designated contact person for CEDA
and references to alumni, coaches, and debaters who are prepared and
willing to talk to the media.

There should be draft explanation/statements made available to member
schools that can be used to communicate with school administrations
(these can, of course, be edited to deal with specific situations).

There should be talking points made available to all that cover several
pints, including:  1) Key facts about the debate activity 2) A basic
factual timeline of what happened 3) The positives associated with
intercollegiate debate.

4) Basic preparation for people doing
interviews.  There is a way to increase the odds that you are quoted
accurately and in a way that benefits yourself and the activity.  These
"tricks of the trade" are not learned in COMS programs, unfortunately.

The activity could turn this coverage into
something positive...but to achieve that it will require a thoughtful
and coordinated strategy, not an ad hoc effort where everybody wings it
on their own.  Debate has alums with great relationships with the media
and experience doing just these things---you should take advantage of
those assets.

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