The power of mass media to influence public opinion and attitudes is well known. More than US$500 billion is spent annually on commercial advertising that shapes patterns of consumption and lifestyles, yet a tiny fraction of that amount is spent on promoting pro-social and sustainable development issues. Information programs and TV documentaries are out-rated by reality shows and sports programs, public radio is experiencing diminishing audiences, and tabloid newspapers and celebrity gossip magazines are the growth sectors of the print media. Breaking through these barriers to reach mass audiences with social issue advertising is an enormous challenge.
The Media Alliance endeavours to achieve its mission of promoting the power of media for social good through five key areas of activity:
1. Project management of electronic media campaigns to build public awareness of social development issues and achieve behavior change. Such campaigns involve the production of high quality PSAs (public service announcements) for TV and radio, and rely on the generosity of the Alliance’s advertising and media partners to provide pro-bono creative services for production and donated airtime to ensure that the messaging reaches the required target audiences. The campaigns are supported with a strong social media presence and the production of material for print media partners to engage with the campaign through editorial coverage.
2. Conferences and seminars to showcase best campaigns and CSR initiatives of media and private sector companies in giving visibility to social, humanitarian, environmental and sustainable development issues through programming content and public service advertising. The primary objective of these events is to encourage and facilitate partnerships between other media and private sector companies to undertake similar initiatives to build awareness of issues that require more public exposure.
3. Advocacy and promotion of effective social issue and public service advertising to raise awareness of the power of media in influencing public opinion, changing behavior and initiating calls to action. This is achieved through speaking engagements at conferences organized by UN agencies and development agencies, networking at CSR conferences, and through the Alliance’s Facebook Page, Twitter feed and website.
4. Journalist training workshops to improve reporting on issues relating to sustainable development, climate change mitigation and adaptation, disaster prevention and preparedness, human trafficking and other issues that will contribute to the social advancement of developing countries and, and to the peace and stability of the region.
5. Consultancy services to assist broadcasters in developing countries to produce quality programming that informs and educates audiences about social development issues in ways that can attract mass audiences. These consultancy services primarily focus on content research, production and presentation, but technical and management consultancy services are also available.
As a non-profit company, any surpluses generated from consulting activities are retained to support The Media Alliance’s advocacy activities.
The Media Alliance also looks for opportunities to marshal volunteer creative talent from media, advertising and entertainment sectors to support awareness campaigns or other pro-social initiatives, especially those relating to human rights, freedom of expression, anti-corruption, health education, poverty reduction and protection of the environment. The Media Alliance welcomes approaches from industry professionals and/or private sector companies interested in supporting communication campaigns on any of these issues.