4.2 Create a media strategy

The Emergency Communications Officer (in coordination with the LM and CEG Communications) should develop a media strategy as soon as possible. This strategy is to provide guidance on how we plan to manage media outreach and will ensure a consistent global approach to the media. CARE should be able to answer the following questions for any engagement with the media. This does not have to be a lengthy document! It can be explained in short bullet points and updated as an emergency evolves, or it could be more detailed in the case of a complex emergency with sensitive issues. If you’re involved in a chronic or long-term emergency, prepare a work plan to plan ahead over a period of several months, to identify potential opportunities, activities, and news ‘triggers’ that might push the emergency up the news agenda again. If advocacy support is available, the media strategy and advocacy strategy should be combined. You can find examples here.

Checklist: Developing a media strategy

What are CARE’s media objectives in relation to the emergency?

  • How will engagement with the media support CARE’s response to the humanitarian situation?

What are CARE’s key messages?

  • How does CARE wish to affect the public’s understanding of the emergency?
  • Is this grounded in CARE’s expertise/programming and is it aligned with CARE’s vision, mission, mandate and existing CARE policies?
  • What messages and stories will be most appropriate for fundraising? Think from the donor’s perspective: what will help them understand how supporting CARE in particular will help those suffering.
  • What are CARE’s key advocacy objectives? What messages will be most effective?

Who is CARE’s target audience?

  •  Who does CARE want to reach to meet our objectives? How can CARE interest them? What media outlets are interested in the story?

What is our communications approach?

  • What stories does CARE have to tell? Who is best placed to tell those stories?
  • Who should be the key spokespeople?
  • What are the best means of communicating: press releases, interviews, news and human interest stories, blogs, press briefings, inviting journalists to site visits, etc.?
  • Who are our partners? Are joint media activities with partners appropriate?

What are our approval procedures for communications materials?

Are there any sensitivities or special guidance to CARE staff engaging in media work?