Media coverage of the ongoing genocide in Darfur has been woefully inadequate. The Center for American Progress found that during June 2005, CNN, FOX News, NBC/MSNBC, ABC, and CBS ran 50 times as many stories about Michael Jackson and 12 times as many stories about Tom Cruise as they did about the genocide in Darfur.
To help rectify the problem about paltry media coverage of Darfur, activists are generating their own press by writing letters to the editor (LTEs), opinion-editorials (Op-Eds) and blog postings.
Letters to the editor are one of the most commonly read items in a newspaper. They serve as a forum to represent the voice of the public. Since letters to the editor are usually written in reference to a recent article or opinion piece, they are a great vehicle to respond to breaking news concerning Darfur and generate additional coverage about the conflict. Remember, letters to the editor should be short and concise; they rarely exceed 150 to 200 words.
We have produced a short guide to assist you in writing your letter to the editor:
Op-eds are a powerful media tool that allows activists to advocate for Darfur in a way that captivates and galvanizes audiences. The best op-eds simultaneously provide background information on the issue while evoking an emotional appeal to the reader to help the people of Darfur. While noted community members are often asked to write op-eds, many newspapers will run well written pieces by grassroots activists. Before you write your op-ed, you should approach your local newspaper as they often have specific procedures and rules regarding the publication of opinions pieces from the community.
We have produced a short guide to writing opinion editorials:
Four out of ten internet users now read blogs regularly. Increasingly, for many of these readers, blogs serve as their primary source of news. You can increase coverage of the Darfur in the blogosphere by posting about Darfur related events you attend, offering comments on articles and editorials you read about the conflict, or issuing you own opinion pieces about the crisis. If you do not have your own blog, you can post blog entries on community blogs. Once you have posted an entry about Darfur, continue the conversation by urging others to post their own comments and asking other bloggers to consider linking to your post on their blog.