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How NGOs can tell compelling stories in the media?

posted 5 May 2014, 02:50 by Sekuma Peter   [ updated 5 May 2014, 02:51 ]
The growth of the media and civil society in Uganda has occurred almost in tandem in the past 25 years. Is there a healthy way in which the two sectors can work together to tell compelling stories about development, change and the necessity for civic transformation?

At a recent media and civil society networking meeting held at the African Centre for Media Excellence, Mr. Richard M. Kavuma, editor of The Observer, addressed this pertinent issue. We now bring you his presentation titled ‘Putting people at the centre of the issues: How civil society can tell compelling stories to bring more attention to their reality’.



 We live in what I call the public relations age.  Increasingly, what you say you are and how you say it may be just as important as what you actually are.  This penchant for self-promotion is both facilitated and intensified by the internet, which has demystified and, some say, democratized publishing of information.  Anyone can publish any time anywhere on anything, provided they have the right connection and gadget.

This reality means that organisations – and even individuals – are under unprecedented pressure to market themselves or else they get crowded out.

Previously, many organisations functioned in a very traditional way, without paying particular attention to public relations for attracting social attention, funds and financial assistance to the organisation. Today, the public relations association is one of the fastest-growing organisations in the country and that tells us something. Some even joke the biggest threat to the development of journalism is not so much an oppressive state as it is an attractive plate served by the PR world.

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) need goodwill of the public to meet their goals, and they therefore need to go where the people are, and be seen to be outstanding, committed, and worth supporting. One tested way to reach the people is through the media.  Therefore, strategic organisations try to ride on the back of the media simply because of what they believe it can do for them.