ACTE Techniques February 2012 : Page 12

CA p I t OL VIEW The Importance of Media Advocacy tant part of the outreach efforts of any career and technical education (CTE) program. It is a vehicle to effectively com -municate the value of CTE in your com -munity, the needs and opportunities of your specific program, national priorities in CTE such as Perkins funding and how that relates to your community, and new trends in CTE. There is still crucial work to be done across the country educating the general public and policymakers on local, state and national levels about the importance of CTE for a strong Ameri -can economy. Also important is changing the public’s perceptions about CTE by introducing them to the modern, rigorous and high-skill programs offered in today’s high schools, community colleges and technical institutes. Research indicates that the news media is still the optimal channel for changing these attitudes and informing the public. The Pew Research Center for People and the Press indicated that U.S. adults still trust the news media more than state and federal government, corporations and Congress, and specifi -cally, people are 69 percent more likely to trust their local news channels than any other source. Local papers, television shows, radio and blogs are where the conversations about CTE can begin, and it is vital to start building relationships and develop-ing effective media advocacy tactics for your school, program or state associa-tion. Successful media advocacy relies on building strong relationships with journalists, producers, bloggers and key influencers. CTE Month is an excellent opportunity to begin building those con-nections by providing a national tie-in to your local stories about the impact of CTE in your community. Take a look at the last three months of news coverage on CTE issues, education and the workforce in your community and make a note of the journalist writing the story and the article: Was it positive or negative? Were there mistakes in facts or information missing about CTE? Use the answers to guide your initial approach with journalists. Include information that demonstrates you are the resource on CTE; provide them with facts about CTE in your community, such as the number of students served in your programs, the business linkages, if applicable, and data on positive student outcomes such as graduation rates and job placements. The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has resources for you to use that can be downloaded from the ACTE Web site, like a press release template and virtual press kit “starter” with fact sheets about CTE and research points to support your media advocacy efforts. As the election season coverage on the candidates and important issues becomes more prevalent, there is no better time to position CTE in the forefront. It starts with proactive local media outreach by the individuals who live the issues daily— CTE educators, leaders and administra -tors like you! Ashley Parker is ACTE’s media relations manager. She can be contacted at aparker@acteonline.org. You can read more about ACTE’s policy activities and the latest happenings in Washington, D.C., on ACTE’s CTE Policy Watch blog. Check it out today at www. acteonline.org/ctepolicywatchblog.aspx . PHOTO By ISTOCK.COM By Ashley Parker tHE MEDIA ARE A CENtRAL pARt OF OUR LIVES. Now more than ever, we are inundated at a constant rate with information from myriad sources, and sharing that information is being made easier every day thanks to the sophisti -cated information distribution methods being developed. Both traditional and “new” media, such as Twitter, Facebook, social reader applications such as The Washington Post’s social reader for Face -book, blogs, mobile applications and more—are key to communicating a mes -sage to a large and targeted audience. Media advocacy should be an impor-12 Techniques Februar y 2012 www.acteonline.org

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