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    An Introduction To Navigating Media Coverage For Your Animal Organization

    An image of a printing press, printing out newspapers.
    Media can be a powerful tool to share narratives about your animal organization’s work and the lives of the animals you help. But stop the presses! It can also come with possible pitfalls! Read on to learn more! Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash

    Resource Acknowledgment 
    The following resource was written for The Open Sanctuary Project by guest contributor Hemi Kim, with contributions from The Open Sanctuary Project team. Hemi is a writer and educator who has authored many pieces on animal agriculture, animal rescue and sanctuary. Hemi has worked with multiple organizations and activists, including those from oppressed communities, to shed light on untold stories. She is passionate about writing and helping others to write sentences that transform society. You can find more of her work here


    For many animal organizations, sharing narratives about the journeys and lives of the animals they have assisted is incredibly important. Challenging dominant cultural perceptions about animals is often crucial to our work! From raising awareness, to building community support, to fundraising, storytelling can play a critical role in building the movement for animal liberation! The thoughtful use of social media is one way organizations can do this work. But sometimes, you might want to reach out to an audience beyond your social media followers. That can mean exploring other outreach methods, such as talking to newspapers, television reporters, or other online media outlets. 

    Preparing yourself for media coverage is an extension of the work of creating safe spaces for your community members, including sanctuary residents, staff and volunteers, and other program participants. This resource is designed to introduce some of the challenges of working with media outlets and offer guidance for navigating media coverage in a way that most accurately reflects your work and values.

    Understanding Media Constraints: What Are Deadlines And The News Cycle?

    Let’s start by addressing a fundamental aspect governing journalism: the deadline. When most people think about reporters and the media, the deadline is a common association. In a society where online news is constantly updated, deadlines have become even more important than ever. Journalists are constantly pressured to find quality stories and write or produce them to very specific deadlines. This means that depth and accuracy can sometimes be sacrificed to the end of providing constantly searching, content-hungry audiences with new stories. 

    One thing that heavily impacts deadlines and how stories may be covered is the “news cycle.” The news cycle for any given outlet is defined as the amount of time that elapses between the release of “editions.” For example, the news cycle is twenty-four hours for a daily newspaper. This timeframe will often dictate what stories get covered, the extent of the coverage, and the likelihood of ongoing coverage of any given story.

    Timeframes become even tighter when considering even more complex media outlets like television. Consider the following example. A reporter works for a city station’s nightly news. The news airs each evening at 5 pm. They hear about an animal-related story at 9 am and contact you for input. To have their piece featured in the nightly broadcast, the reporter must gather all relevant information and footage and have it edited before the news airs. This may mean the reporter may have a matter of hours to visit your site to get footage and gather interviews with relevant parties, and then do all the editing to make the story into a succinct video piece that will fit in along with all the others being broadcast in the course of the news hour.

    How Deadlines and News Cycles Can Impact Coverage Of Your Organization

    The constraints of the news cycle and deadlines can impact coverage of your organization in a few ways, starting with how you might be contacted in the first place. Outside media coverage can come to your organization in a variety of ways. You may get coverage by seeking out and working with a journalist (more on this later). Or, more often, it may come suddenly! For example, if you have recently worked on a high-profile or large-scale rescue, you may be contacted by the media. Or perhaps a journalist with a special interest in your work may discover you and reach out. And sometimes, journalists may be working on stories adjacent to your work and may want a quote from an “animal rescue” perspective. 

    These constraints can also have a big impact on the kind of coverage that you get. Organizations that spend a significant amount of time talking to a reporter and providing them with background materials and photo and video opportunities may be surprised to see that the work they contributed got condensed into a relatively short and superficial treatment. Also, time constraints can cause issues with accuracy, with reporters rushing to get their story in before a deadline missing certain details or relevant facts.

    Another unexpected thing that can happen is if your story gets picked up by other outlets who are looking around for new stories to share. For example, if you did an interview with a local newspaper, it may be picked up by other outlets, including national ones! You may not even be notified or asked when this happens, and your story or quotes may well be shared alongside those of other organizations that you have never even spoken with! While most organizations want their stories to “go viral” and consider this a net positive, they might not feel the same way if their words are used out of context or if inaccuracies from an initial story are repeated and compounded by other stories.

    So, while many organizations are often very excited about having their work shared with a wider audience, it’s important to be mindful of the constraints of mainstream media. Specifically, be mindful of the context in which the journalist operates, and prepare carefully for interviews. You do not want the time constraints of deadlines and the news cycle to lead to misunderstandings and unexpected consequences! Dealing with the media can be challenging, especially when it comes to advocating for causes that challenge the status quo. Consider the following hypothetical examples.

    Examples and Scenarios Described Really Are Hypothetical!
    All hypothetical examples and scenarios offered in this resource are indeed hypothetical: they are not based directly on any “real-life situation.” Instead, they are crafted based on some of the possible outcomes that can arise when working with the media. They are meant for educational purposes only. 

    Example 1: Your sanctuary was contacted regarding a story on the “Covid backyard chicken fad.” You spend hours talking to a journalist from a major news outlet, sharing stories of the individual chicken residents you have cared for who have been dumped after their “owners” found them to be “too much.” You spend a lot of time promoting the notion that each resident is an individual worthy of compassionate care. However, when the story comes out, only one quote of yours is published. The quote used only references your concerns about increased rooster dumping. Further, the overall story does not challenge the public perception that it’s okay to keep chickens to use them for eggs. As a result, you are contacted by fellow advocates from other organizations who are upset by the story and concerned that your participation comes off as an implicit endorsement of backyard chicken farming.

    Beware Of Extractive Journalism!
    In this article, journalism professor Andrea Wenzel defines extractive journalism as “taking and defining value in terms of what you can take from a story or a person or a community, and not thinking about value in terms of what would be valuable to that community, to that person and that might translate into doing stories that are about communities rather than for/with them.” What this can often look like is a journalist “parachuting in” for a “news hook,” getting a pithy quote (but making no deeper attempt at understanding the issues), and then leaving the scene of the story with little to no follow-up. The above example illustrates how this kind of journalism can not only result in wasting the time of a source with a deeply vested interest in the story but also can actively cause them harm. If it seems like a journalist is reaching out to you solely for a single quote, question their intentions carefully!

    Example 2: Your organization collaborated with a local news outlet to tell a story about your work in potbellied pig rescue. Your words are later taken out of context and published on a news website, and then shared again on others, alongside quotes from other organizations like petting zoos. You and your community find this traumatizing, as you have rescued potbellied pigs from roadside petting zoos! You do not wish to be represented in the same light as a petting zoo and no longer want to be part of the story, so you attempt to address the issue by contacting the publishers to ask that your quotes be removed. When you do get responses, there is little to no support from publishers for your well-being, and the story continues to be picked up by even more online media outlets, who are trying to capitalize on the viral nature of this story.

    Going “Viral” Isn’t Always Good!
    It feels intuitive that having an organization’s rescue story go viral is beneficial. However, depending on the story this is not always the case. Sometimes viral stories can attract audiences you might not want. Sometimes, it may attract comments and interactions from parties you’d prefer never to be associated with. Keep this in mind carefully when sharing stories that might elicit mixed reactions!

    How can you avoid unwanted outcomes like these? Let’s start by talking about preparation! How can you avoid unwanted outcomes like these? Let’s start by talking about preparation!

    Framing Your Principles Internally

    As activists and community organizers, we’ve all experienced less-than-ideal news coverage: maybe our words were misquoted or taken out of context, or the story perpetuated harmful misconceptions. So let’s explore strategies to advocate for one’s cause while minimizing the risk of negative media coverage. 
    Before doing outreach and sharing narratives about your organization, it’s always helpful to have done the internal work necessary to clarify your mission and vision. Having mission and vision statements that clearly reflect your values as an organization and which were crafted with input from all team members at your organization can truly help you in all your work communicating with the larger community, media included! Consider the following hypothetical example.

    Hypothetical: How Hoppy Homes Rescue Uses Its Mission And Vision To Assess A Media Request

    Hoppy Homes is an organization focused on rescuing rabbits and advocates for the compassionate care of rabbits as companions. Their mission statement is “To rescue and place rabbits in homes where they will be respected as individuals and given lifelong compassionate care.” Their vision is “A world where no rabbit will be treated as an object and discarded.” 

    During the Easter season, Hoppy Homes is contacted by the media, who’d like to do a story about “pet rabbits.” The reporter tells them they want a “cute, feel-good” story that can direct would-be impulse Easter rabbit purchasers to a rescue organization. However, the reporter seems less interested in the nuances of the lifelong care of rabbits. 

    When Hoppy Homes discusses it as a team and reflects on their organization’s mission and vision, they reconsider their desire to participate in a story that might promote a narrative of rabbits as “fun Easter gifts for kids,” and which might imply that their organization is complicit with such a practice. To them, it feels like extractive journalism. To learn more about what Hoppy Homes chooses to do, read on!

    Framing, Narrative, And Storytelling Considerations

    If your mission and vision are strong, this can help you avoid media pitfalls, such as inadvertently appearing to support a narrative that might be harmful to your goals. But suppose you find a media opportunity that does align with your mission and vision. How can you maximize this opportunity to share narratives that best serve your residents and your organization? Framing, narrative, and respecting the rights of storytellers are potent tools for challenging dominant culture and promoting social change and collective liberation. As storytellers, organizations and individuals can make a significant impact by framing their work and narratives to the broader community in a way that aligns with their organization’s values, mission, vision, and theory of change. We’ll elaborate a bit on each below!

    Understanding Framing

    The concept of framing has been widely studied in the field of social justice. It refers to how different people react to the same concept when it is presented in different ways. For instance, in an example provided by George Lakoff, the terms “environmental regulation” and “environmental protection” evoke different reactions. The term “regulation” is often chosen by corporations, who wish to portray government intervention as restricting freedom. In contrast, environmental watchdog groups often use the term “protection” to frame environmental measures so they are perceived to protect the public from harm caused by corporations.

    The careful use of language is a critical aspect of framing and can heavily influence how your stories are received. Language use plays a vital role in challenging dominant cultural narratives and shifting them to ones infused with the values of collective liberation. 

    For an example from the animal sanctuary and rescue world, consider the difference between the use of the word “owner” versus the term “caregiver.” When you talk to media, if you’re trying to redefine how people view the lives of the residents in your care (and animals in general), it is preferable to use the term “caregiver” for yourself. In this way, you remove the notion of animals as “property” and instead substitute in the concept that the residents of your sanctuary are individuals who are worthy of receiving compassionate care. For more ideas on changing language use at your animal organization, you can check out our resource on the subject here! For more examples of how framing is used within social justice movements generally, check out this resource!

    Understanding Narrative

    Narrative refers to a set of stories that represent a central belief or myth about how the world works, according to the Narrative Initiative. Reframing a narrative can shift people’s perceptions of an issue and motivate them to take action. Narrative change involves taking a step beyond simply changing your language use to shift frameworks. It is about changing entire stories. Consider the following quote.

    “Humans, as pattern-seeking social creatures, assemble collections of mutually-reinforcing stories, in turn establishing shared common sense and constructing stereotypes about people and places, communities and cultures, ideologies and institutions. These core narratives, fundamental to our understanding of the world and to our ability to navigate through it, nurture feelings of belonging and marginalization; that is, they subconsciously delineate who is in your group and who is not – who “we” are and what “they” do. We obtain, maintain and challenge systems of power based upon tribal affiliation, nationalist affinity, class and partisan distinctions, and constructions of coalitions. These deeply-rooted paradigms are mental models of how the world works and one’s place in it. Often formed and fed by media, politics and pop culture, and ossified by personal experience, narratives often determine who deserves our solidarity or our scorn, our compassion or our contempt, our fear or fealty.”

    Jee Kim, Liz Hynes & Nima Shirazi May 2017

    Narrative has been another strategy that economic justice and social change organizations use to achieve their goals. By changing the stories people tell about an issue, it is possible to alter how they view and respond to it. For example, this approach has been used to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour and by the Coalition of Immokalee Farm Workers, according to The Broke Project.

    Again, when preparing to speak to journalists, remember that your narrative is related to but more all-encompassing than your frame. While your frame involves specific careful language choices to shift perceptions about the subject matter of your discussion, changing your narrative involves pushing an even more radical shift of perspective. Doing this generally involves finding a balance in telling a story that is both relatable and identifiable to the audience and also challenging. In this way, you make it easier for them to identify and reject harmful dominant cultural narratives and entertain entirely new ones. Before you even speak to a journalist, again, consider your mission and vision and take the time to frame and narrate the story you want to tell in advance. If you approach media interactions with an existing and clear understanding of the narrative you wish to promote, you are more likely to feel in control of how other people interpret your story. To see how this might work in practice, let’s revisit Hoppy Homes! 

    Hypothetical: How Hoppy Homes Uses Framing And Narrative To Advocate For Rabbits

    Hoppy Homes is the rabbit rescue group we discussed above, which was contacted by a reporter wanting to produce a “feel-good story” to urge people to adopt their “Easter bunnies.” After assessing this request as a team in the context of their mission and vision, Hoppy Homes has concerns. How might they take control of the frame and narrative of this story in a way that promotes their mission and vision?

    When considering framing, they can control their language use carefully. For example, they can emphasize that they consider rabbits lifelong companions, not seasonal objects, or “starter pets.” Instead of treating the adoption of a rabbit to be a “gift,” they can emphasize that the care of a rabbit is a lifelong responsibility. Using this kind of language is an excellent start to framing their perspective on rabbits and the care they deserve. 

    Regarding narrative, they can share the stories of some of their residents who were dumped by impulse purchasers or recipients of surprise rabbit “gifts” after Easter. They can talk about the recovery of these survivors of objectification and how they have thrived with appropriate care. 

    In this way, Hoppy House can counter the dominant and generally accepted narrative that rabbits are acceptable “impulse purchases” for small children, as well as explain why “giving” any animal as a “gift” is a profoundly problematic practice, by emphasizing the direct consequences and costs that this dominant narrative has imposed on both specific, identifiable rabbit individuals and their own organization and its caregivers and rescuers, who bear the brunt of post-Easter dumping.

     Special Considerations For Storytellers’ Rights And Experiences

    Considering how you can maintain control of the framing and narrative of media coverage of your work is essential, but these are not the only things you will need to keep in mind when working with media. Organizations often prioritize narrative power in their communications strategy by highlighting individual program participants’ stories and weaving them into a broader, coordinated narrative. In doing this, it’s also imperative that you keep in mind the perspective of storytellers. 

    For farmed animal sanctuaries, this should involve considerations around two kinds of community members. First, and most obviously, you will want to showcase the journeys and personalities of your animal residents. Less obvious (and sometimes sadly overlooked), it is also vital to promote and support the work of compassionate caregivers who care for animals daily. In both cases, it is essential to consider the welfare and interests of both animals and caregivers and avoid objectifying them, tokenizing them, or inadvertently sharing narratives undermining their autonomy as individuals. We’ll look at ways you can respect both non-human and human caregivers below.

    Special Considerations For Non-Humans

    Most journalists interested in covering sanctuary or rescue work will want to see the non-human animals in question, and will likely want either photographs or video of them. Many may even want to get up close and personal with them! However, there are several factors to consider when this comes up to ensure both the safety and comfort of the non-humans involved, as well as the journalists and caregivers involved! 

    A Word of Caution!
    We recommend exercising very careful judgment before allowing visitors of any kind to interact with any residents to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort. Extra careful consideration must be taken for animals at any increased risk of stress, illness or injury, including already sick or injured animals, babies, and elderly companions. As a general guiding principle, if you feel the slightest bit concerned for an animal’s physical or mental well-being and safety, then you should not allow them to interact with or be handled by anyone except for healthcare purposes.

    If you have a journalist visiting your site, you must keep in mind biosecurity considerations. Suppose for example, you are working with a journalist who is doing a story on highly pathogenic avian influenza, and who wants to get a sense of the kinds of protections you’ve implemented. In that case, you will definitely want to make sure they haven’t, for instance, visited another chicken flock before coming to your sanctuary. You will want to make sure you carefully practice biosecurity protocols to protect your residents. This may involve requiring the journalist and their team to use PPE, or not allowing them direct contact with your avian residents at all!

    On a related note, biosecurity is not just for non-human animal safety! New residents in quarantine can potentially harbor diseases or conditions you may not have discovered yet, which can sometimes be zoonotic, or communicable to humans. While a journalist may want to get up close and personal with, for example, your new calf resident, this is likely an interaction you will want to prevent! After all, no one wants to deal with the unpleasant consequences of contracting a zoonotic disease like cryptosporidiosis!

    Another situation in which you may want to limit and restrict access to a resident who might be the subject of media interest is if the resident is a recent rescue and may be in the process of recovering from either (or both) the mental or physical trauma of abuse. For example, suppose you have recently participated in a cruelty, seizure, or escapee case and are getting media inquiries as a function of this work. In that case, it is very likely that the animals in question will not be comfortable getting up close to many people and may be retraumatized by such contact. There may also be legal or other related issues with regard to sharing their stories, so make sure you talk to your legal counsel and all relevant authorities before collaborating with journalists! For more information on considerations concerning information sharing regarding cruelty, seizure and escapee cases, you can check out our resource on the subject here!

    Once you’ve considered these questions, there are a few other things you will want to think about. First, journalists often come equipped with quite a bit of gear. This can involve tripods, cords, cameras and microphones, and lighting. Some of this gear may either scare your residents or may be appealing to them! For example, cords might be attractive to goats who like to chew on objects. Goats also very much enjoy stealing and chewing paper, which might not be appreciated by a reporter whose notes might fall prey to this behavior! Lighting might disrupt chicken residents who just want to go to sleep. Or a cow may have opinions about a tripod and want to knock it over! These kinds of interactions can both present a risk to the animals, and will likely present setbacks for the journalist! 

    On a related note, if you let a journalist and their team into enclosures and spaces like fenced pastures, you run an additional risk. You will need to be very mindful that gates and doors are carefully closed behind them, as they may either not know to do this themselves or may be too distracted to do so. Designating one of your team members to watch gates and doors specifically can be very helpful in preventing accidental escapes. Also, having designated staff members on hand who are carefully watching the residents involved for signs of discomfort or for signs of reactivity to the journalist and their team is critical, because this can help prevent accidents, mishaps or unnecessary stress to residents! 

    How You Can Assist Journalists Without Jeopardizing Residents Or Humans
    If human and non-human safety constraints make it challenging for journalists to get the kind of footage or photographs they would like for their coverage, you can help them by doing this yourself. If the non-human animals who are the subject of coverage have trusted human caregivers that can take photos or video without traumatizing or otherwise harming the animal, you can offer their footage to the journalist as an alternative to them visiting the site and potentially encountering some or all of the obstacles listed above! Just make sure to give credit appropriately!

    Special Considerations For Humans

    On the human side, there are many things you will want to keep in mind to respect storytellers’ rights and experiences. First, while in many organizations, it is not uncommon for founders or, in the case of larger organizations, specialized public relations personnel to take the lead when it comes to media inquiries, it’s essential to make sure that caregivers who are directly responsible for the day to day work of caring for residents have the opportunity to share their stories as well. After all, caregivers arguably have the organization’s most important job: ensuring the residents’ lifelong compassionate care! When caregiver narratives are overlooked, you can risk missing your goal of centering the lives of residents and missing an opportunity to highlight the who’s and the how’s of the compassionate care at your organization that makes it so special.

    At the same time, the comfort levels of anyone participating in media coverage must be kept in mind. This is a balancing act. For example, avoid pressuring people to share their personal stories for the sake of generating public support, both in-person and online, if they feel ill at ease or have misgivings about it. To address power dynamics, it is helpful if your organization develops guidelines for storytellers to ensure they can receive the acknowledgment they deserve and maintain control over their stories without improper or harmful interference from the organization well in advance of working with the media. You may find some valuable tools for doing this work in our resource on conflict support and building transformative relationships within your organization.

    To protect human storytellers at your organization, you can also provide them with media training, and talking points well in advance of any media coverage. In this way, they have time to prepare, ask questions of other relevant members of your organization, and ensure that they feel entirely comfortable with their role in sharing your narrative and their part in it. Remember that in interviews, there are many opportunities to “say the wrong thing,” especially if the storyteller thinks their comments are just part of a casual conversation. 

    Your organization can help avoid this kind of pitfall by ensuring that the person who is the most knowledgeable about the issue in question is the person being interviewed! Again, this may well be a caregiver as opposed to public relations staff or a founder! Also, make sure that your storyteller knows how to respond (or not respond!) to a curveball question! For example, if a caregiver of ex-battery hens who is being interviewed about the rescue and lives of the survivors is suddenly asked a question about cultured chicken meat, make sure that they know they can either refuse to answer the question or defer an answer until they are fully aware of your organization’s position on the subject before responding.

    To this point, it’s essential that your organization, and anyone interacting with the media on its behalf, understand the difference between being “on the record,” “off the record,” and “on background.” You can review this resource for a full discussion of the distinctions from a journalist’s perspective. What’s important to remember is that anything you say “on the record” can be attributed to you by name and your job title at your organization. If you say something to a journalist “off the record,” nothing you say during the discussion can be used in the journalist’s story UNLESS the journalist can find another source to verify the information that you shared. However, in that circumstance, they still cannot reveal you as the initial source of the information. Finally, when you provide information to a journalist “on background,” this information can be quoted but CANNOT be attributed to you by name. 

    If your organization wishes to provide information to a journalist “off the record” or “on background,” be sure that you make this clear to the journalist in advance of any discussion that you have with them. And also, keep in mind that there may be certain situations, such as those involving ongoing legal proceedings, where you may want to avoid all comments entirely! Again, consult your legal counsel or the relevant legal authorities in situations like these to get the most appropriate guidance.

    We also need to note that many organizations may expect free or underpaid labor from volunteers, especially in contexts that involve more intensive organization-wide efforts, like media coverage. Such expectations can conflict with commitments to equity and justice within your community. This can be particularly offensive to people who are Black, Indigenous and People of the Global Majority, especially if they are being tokenized in such contexts. Organizations committed to collective liberation have a responsibility to treat their storytellers with care and respect. In farmed animal sanctuary contexts, where we are trying to model a new way of working in community with one another, organizational leaders bear a special responsibility to prioritize storytellers’ rights, especially when it comes to oppressed communities when pursuing narrative change.

    Organizations can and should counteract the extractive nature of media campaigns and ensure that their focus on narrative power does not come at the expense of individual storytellers’ interests and well-being. Media outlets and organizations alike are also responsible for ensuring that their focus on narrative power centers the people with the least power in society. We’ll look at ways that these kinds of collaborations can happen next!

    Exploring Solidarity Journalism Principles And Practices

    Traditional news media outlets such as newspapers, radio, and television stations are still trusted by many people in the United States and beyond as sources of accurate and reliable information. However, these media outlets often reflect the biases of their owners. They may prioritize certain stories over others as a result of systems of biases stemming from the dominant culture, including (but not limited to) racism, classism, and patriarchy.

    Yet individual journalists and certain media outlets who prepare stories to be published on news-oriented platforms to inform the general public, can play a crucial role in upholding democracy and human rights. In 2021, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Filipino-American journalist Maria Ressa told NPR, “Journalism is activism.” 

    Meanwhile, farmed animal sanctuaries also represent a unique form of animal advocacy. Directly caring for animals is a legitimate and vital form of activism, according to the Radical Companionship Project and the Microsanctuary Resource Center. However, it is crucial to recognize that just as mainstream media outlets can perpetuate biases about animals and oppressed humans, so can dominant narratives surrounding animal advocacy and rescue work propound narratives that oppress human communities. We encourage sanctuaries and animal rescue organizations to carefully consider their language around social change movements, just as we encourage them to take care of language used about animals.

    You can also help combat harmful narratives of all types and engage in narrative change by building relationships with reporters practicing solidarity or movement journalism. Solidarity journalism challenges the extractive practices of traditional journalism and prioritizes the perspectives of people being systematically excluded from some aspect of society. Traditional media tends to take an objective or neutral stance that gives greater weight to the views of the dominant culture – as embodied through institutions, officials, and wealthy people, for example. In contrast, solidarity or movement journalists practice a form of equity by building relationships with oppressed communities and helping them tell their stories from that point of view.

    Tips For Advocates From Racialized Communities 
    Communities who are targeted by dominant cultural narratives such as white supremacy and other forms of oppression are often misrepresented in mainstream journalism. However, there is power in partnering with professional journalists to tell stories that center the voices and experiences of directly-impacted people.
    You can reach out to journalists who want to share your community’s stories in a way that accurately reflects your experiences. Organizations such as Scalawag and PressOn offer training and support to help oppressed people enter the world of journalism and ensure that their narratives are heard.
    By partnering with journalists who understand and center the perspectives of oppressed communities and by crafting a storytelling framework that reflects your organization’s mission and values, you can help your community win long-lasting, powerful changes.

    While it may seem new and potentially daunting to explore when it comes to outreach to your broader community, this kind of journalism is ever-evolving and ever-growing. It is absolutely possible for even small grassroots efforts to get media coverage of this kind! Examples of pieces about animal liberation work from a movement journalism framework, which were also written to combat misperceptions around BIPGM communities and increase the visibility of BIPGM activists in rescue and sanctuary can be found here and here. In both articles, careful attention was paid to highlight the lives of animals as well as the lives of caregivers, acknowledging the broader context of all oppression, and the importance of intersectional work to achieve collective liberation. 


    Getting media coverage for your organization can be an excellent opportunity to share frameworks and narratives that challenge dominant cultural norms which perpetuate oppression against both non-humans and humans. However, it does come with potential risks and pitfalls. Extractive journalism practices can not only harm your organization specifically but also perpetuate oppression against other oppressed communities as well. Going viral isn’t always all it may seem to be. To avoid pitfalls and maximize your opportunity to share your narrative of collective liberation, your organization must stay mindful of its mission and vision across your team and ensure that you operate carefully, considering both humans and non-humans when it comes to storytelling. Doing so is critical to sharing narratives that support and promote collective liberation.


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    All About Social Media For Your Animal Sanctuary | The Open Sanctuary Project

    What Does It Mean For Each Animal Sanctuary Resident To Be An Individual? | The Open Sanctuary Project

    Understanding Mission And Vision Statements For Your Animal Organization | The Open Sanctuary Project

    Language Choices At The Open Sanctuary Project | The Open Sanctuary Project

    The Importance Of Language Choices At Your Animal Sanctuary | The Open Sanctuary Project

    Practical Biosecurity Measures For Animal Sanctuaries | The Open Sanctuary Project

    Advanced Topics In Resident Health: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza | The Open Sanctuary Project

    Managing Cruelty, Seizure, And Escapee Cases At Your Sanctuary Or Rescue | The Open Sanctuary Project

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    Level Up: Workshops And Trainings | PressOn

    How A Latinx-led Rescue Group Is Changing The Sanctuary Movement | Sentient Media by Hemi Kim As Told To By Kate Carlock, Julia Magnus, José Alberto Pérez, and Rebecca Slusher

    4 Principles Of The Microsanctuary Movement | Sentient Media by Hemi Kim And Alastor Van Kleeck

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