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WRITING FOR THE MEDIA
Rapid Response

Often, inaccurate or misleading information appears in the media. It is important that your organization be prepared to respond quickly and accurately to this type of coverage. For environmental issues in particular, this activity can be as important as any other type of press or public outreach.

A rapid response program to monitor and forcefully counter inaccurate reporting in the press is difficult to maintain. However, by following local, regional or national news on a daily basis, the environmental movement can maximize its opportunities to correct mistakes and disinformation. When trying to decide whether your organization has the time or resources to allocate to such a program, consider the damage that can be done by NOT responding quickly to misleading or inaccurate coverage - ie, the so-called Alar scandals, 'Eco-terrorism' acts, industry-driven stories on climate change, etc.

Databases and news monitoring services can help your organization stay on top of the news so that it can reply to misleading news items within the same news cycle. Contact offending reporters and editors with accurate information or with a better means of analysis, and offer to put them in touch with experts. It is important to respond swiftly and to contact reporters and their editors directly. This type of monitoring provides environmentalists with an historical record of how an issue has been covered and the rebuttal materials they need to consistently alert the media to inaccurate or one-sided reporting.

Examples of Rapid Response:

PCBs and General Electric

Alar on Apples

Environmentalist "Scare Tactics"

Types of Rapid response:

Letters to the editor

Op-eds

Editorial board or reporter mailings

Editorial board meetings


Environmental Media Services
1320 18th Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 463-6670
ems@ems.org

©1999 Environmental Media Services