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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Dealing with the Media, a unit of study name (we're in week five in a 13-week subject), is deceptive. Karen and Samantha are in my group and both are young Chinese women. Then there's Matt, our tutor, and Richard, the program supervisor. Plus the client official. A media relations staffer at a peak body. A dementia research fellow. You see, I've got a lot of people to deal with, not just the media.

I went to see Richard today to voice concerns that I am shouldering too much of the burden of the campaign we're trying to run. The aim, of course, is to get media coverage. In the final weeks we'll be evaluating the campaign as part of the assessment process.

Basically it boils down to this. I selected the issue, did the best part of the research, wrote the initial piece to attract a client, made appointments, and did most of the talking in the meetings last Friday. But today Samantha has shown -- we discussed this in a debrief session following the meetings -- she has initiative. It looks as though she's lined up two interviews.

Assessment will be based on a number of deliverables. They include a profile, backgrounder, media release, op-ed piece (or letter to the editor) and some other items. I feared I'd be doing most of the writing. But there's a nice, atypical strategy in the offing: Chinese newspapers.

If we do this, the writing will be much more interesting for the two women. It is, I admit, hard for them to get their heads around how to frame a story for the English-language media in this country. Cultural divergences render a Western approach highly problematic.

I am hugely relieved by Samantha's emails detailing the leads provided by one organisation we met with on Friday. It takes an enormous weight off my shoulders. I can divert my mental resources to further research so that, if we do get a call from a reporter who wants to run our material, I can supply relevant data with confidence.

It's all hugely exciting once more. I'm thinking that Karen can do one interview and Samantha the other. Time to get serious.

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