Using existing mass media
Address correspondence to the relevant person by name (you will need to find this out
in advance) and include your contact details.
Use a catchy title, put the most relevant information first and limit the length (one or
two pages of text or two minutes of audio tape).
The question prompts; What? Why? Who? When? Where? and How? May be used to
help you structure your ideas.
Constraints of Using Existing Mass Media
Mass media professionals, such as reporters, and editors can misinterpret or manipulate the
opinions and facts being expressed by community members. The resulting broadcast or article
may misrepresent the views of the community to a greater or lesser extent. Take care to make
sure that the media company has the correct information and will represent it accurately.
Real Life Story
Story of the Picos gets national coverage
When the Chief Executive Officer of Practical Action East Africa made a field visit to a
successful small scale (or Pico) hydropower project in Kenya’s Central Province, Practical
Action invited a reporter from a national newspaper along to cover the story.
The reporter from the Daily Nation agreed to accompany the visitors and to write an article
about the project and the local people. All that Practical Action had to do to secure this
national press coverage was to make the reporter’s travel and accommodation arrangements
prior to the visit.
The article was subsequently published in the
newspaper, and soon after the article
appeared, numerous inquires about the project
were received by Practical Action East Africa.
Some inquiries focused on how the project
could be replicated in other areas. These came
mainly from communities that had a desire to
access electricity and were living close to
An interesting request was also received from
a local journalist John Njoroge. John had read about the hydro projects in the newspaper
article and wanted to write a more detailed article for an international magazine; Appropriate
Technology. ‘I read with a lot of interest the story on small scale hydro-electricity generation
and have now visited the project sites. I am now writing a story on these projects for the
Appropriate Technology Magazine based in UK'.
As a result of the national coverage therefore, the project went on to reach an international
Real Life Story, Practical Action East Africa 2003.
Storytelling Practical Action Technical Brief
Community/Street drama Practical Action Technical Brief
Exposure Visits Practical Action Technical Brief
Posters Practical Action Technical Brief
Information, Communication, Learning selection of Practical Action Technical Briefs
Public Gatherings Practical Action Technical Brief
Podcasting: Recording and Using Local Voices for Knowledge Sharing Practical Action Brief
Newsletters and Booklets Practical Action Technical Brief