In recognition of the importance of getting our stories out accurately and often -- to the press and our political reps, NESAWG is launching a Community News Project project in 2015. The project aims to build the media outreach and story-telling capacity of our network participants. Often, NESAWG allies represent small, low-budget organizations, lacking a communications strategy beyond a Facebook page. Others have learned to use the ever-evolving menu of new digital media tools, including Twitter, photo and video sharing and electronic action alerts, but struggle to create relevant content for these channels. To support these organizations, NESAWG's Community News Project will offer targeted food-system-related content, training and support to select organizations across the region during our 2015 pilot period.
Each partner will receive access to a special Community News Project workgroup where it can access:
- quarterly press releases with ideas about how to customize the release for their organization,
- suggestions for how to adapting the release to blog posts, web features, op-eds, social media posts and other channels,
- training and support by NESAWG staff, and
- a community of peers sharing ideas about how best to leverage the project's materials and opportunities.
We aim to develop our unified, regional voice while telling our unique, local stories. We'll be hiring communications staff to help NESAWG and partners use effective traditional and new media tools; foster more cross-disciplinary media outreach training throughout the network; and provide more opportunities and training for story-telling to reach both the media and political representatives. At our 2014 It Takes a Region Conference, we held a working session with attendees to discuss the project and solicit ideas, many of which have already been incorporated in our plans. We welcome further input from NESAWG participants, and would love your participation in the Community News Project. Email us to find out more about joining our pilot project, and look out for information in January about the topics our quarterly releases will cover in 2015.