Eleven Ways to Boost Your Work with News Media: How You Can Help the Media Report Violence Against Women

Click here for a PDF of Media Guide VAW_Victoria Australia

This guide is a supporting resource for Working with news and social media to prevent violence against women and their children: A Strategic Framework for Victoria, which provides strategies and information on working effectively with media to prevent violence against women and their children (PVAW) (available at www.dvvic.org.au).

This guide is focused specifically on increasing the capacity of practitioners to work with and provide plain language PVAW messages to news media. It is aimed at practitioners working in the area of violence-against-women response, early intervention and prevention services and programs who want to work more effectively with media to communicate key messages about PVAW. They will have different levels of involvement in the media work of their organisation, with some playing a public role as spokespersons while others will be involved in behind-the-scenes planning or design of communications content and materials. This guide provides practitioners with tools and ‘food for thought’ to support their work with media. It includes discussion and tips on working with media on PVAW, as well as suggested critical PVAW ‘themes’, messaging content and key statistics that can assist communications with the media and encourage the inclusion of prevention messages in news stories.

Delivering clear information and accurate messages about PVAW to the community through the media is not always easy. The issue is plagued by myths and poor community understanding. We have seen a rapid increase in the quantity and quality of media reporting about VAW in Victoria over recent years. This has created a current opportunity to provide information and evidence about PVAW to the media in ways that make the isssue more accessible and engaging for the community.

Better reporting on VAW includes improving news, analysis and social media content about: • The right of women and children to live free from violence • The drivers and reinforcing factors of violence against women • The central role of gender equality in preventing violence against women • The myths and misconceptions about violence against women • The prevalence of violence against women • The impact of violence against women on our community • Actions that community members can take to prevent violence against women.

PVAW and working with media are specialised areas of work. This resource cannot replace training in either primary prevention or in media and communications; it aims, however, to highlight some key considerations to get you started or to improve your current work.

While parts of this guide will be relevant to all work with media and to the broader issue of VAW, such as advocacy or campaigning by individuals and groups, it focuses on improving the media’s coverage and portrayal of PVAW, and building practitioners’ capacity to contribute to this.

This resource is divided into eleven sections and five quick reference supplements. Each section focuses on one area of working effectively with media on PVAW, and the quick reference supplements provide key ‘themes’, messaging content and evidence on PVAW. It is designed to be read in full, however, central ideas are repeated throughout the resource with recognition that practitioners will refer to individual sections as need arises.