THE EGA TAPES
Media Strategies for Environmental Protection
Moderator: [Tape begins in
progress] ...Pew Charitable Trusts. We're waiting on Denis Hayes,
he may be out building the majority now as we speak. The approach
of this workshop is that we're going to present two or three just
examples of media campaigns that foundations have been involved in,
just very brief presentations. Then we're going to engage in a
discussion. I've passed around some questions there as you sit
down, that I've asked the participants, the presenters to consider
when they're both answering questions and making their
presentations. And they're questions that especially I would like
to see answered, and I as a funder who is facing these funding
proposals, I'd like to see answered. However, if other good
questions come up, we'll easily divert from these. It's just a way
to jump start the discussion when we get started.
So let's just
start with--Josh Reichert, who is the director of the Environment
Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts was to be here but he couldn't
make the whole conference, and so I asked Donald to present what I
was going to ask Josh to present, which was a campaign that several
funders worked together on on the ancient forest.
It must feel good to be a three billion dollar endowment [Pew's
assets], [audience laughs] I'm sitting in for Josh. I want to
really just give a very quick description of the media campaign
that's been under way for about the last 9 months on the forest
because there are three organizations that are really involved in it
that at various times have worked very closely together and at other
times had a high degree of tension between them and not a great deal
of communication. And partly we funders are responsible for it
because at the very same time two separate groups of funders picked
two separate horses on which to lavish large sums of money to run
media campaigns. And despite great efforts to get them to work very
closely together, it sometimes worked not as well as one would
So as a result,
there really were, it was a campaign. And rather than use their
names, because they're all called Ancient Forests, with different
other names, the Americans for the Ancient Forests, Western Ancient
Forests [Campaign], Ancient Forest Alliance, or something.
campaign was run by David Fenton of Fenton Communications, he's a
full process public relations firm in Washington D.C. that has done
a fair amount of activist political work over the years for mainly
progressive and left wing types of organizations, foreign
The other major
national campaign was the [Robert A.] Chlopak effort. Bob is the
former head of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, the staff
head and had a lot of background on political campaigns. He was
working for the past several years for Sawyer-Miller, which is a
public relations, advertising, media strategy firm.
And the third
effort was the grass roots, was a more grass roots effort run by the
Western Ancient Forests Campaign. And their contribution to the
media portion was to take a large log on a truck through the
country, which was a guaranteed, in small towns certainly,
guaranteed picture in the local newspaper, story on the evening
news. And that's what they did. They spent months crisscrossing
the country and have clips that all look remarkably the same from
papers all over the country talking about forests. And it's a
relatively low-budget way of getting TV, radio, newspapers, etc. and
The other two
campaigns--when you talk about media, and we use that word
interchangeably. There's really two very distinct branches of the
media. There is the paid media efforts and there are free media
efforts. The forests, the log is the quintessential free media
effort. You just roll into town, put out a canned press release and
it's a guaranteed, you know, story. The paid media, the other two,
and the Western Ancient Forests used no paid media, the grass roots
campaign. They only used free media.
The other two
campaigns used a mixture of free and paid media. The paid was
mainly drive time radio in selected Congressional districts of
members of the House Interior Committee and to some extent the
Senate Agriculture Committee on occasion to try to drive home the
forest issue and generate some community response.
But the larger
effort of both the national effort--campaign--was the free media,
the public relations. And the Fenton effort I think generated a
good deal more media than the Chlopak effort, partly because
Chlopak's campaign was a political legislative effort as well and it
wasn't simply a media strategy. And I just want to, I'll just
mention a few of the things, if we can pass this around, that they
And Fenton uses
this technique in a lot of his campaigns and it's pretty effective.
He gathered together four or five activists, Jeff DeBonis of the
Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics,
Andy Kerr, Michael Stewartt of LightHawk and the like, and scheduled
intensive visits to major media centers, New York City, Los Angeles,
where they would spend two or three days with back-to-back meetings
briefing editorial boards, news directors, feature writers. And
there is no question that that effort produced a torrent of media,
which involved everything from evening news, television stories on
the forest to editorials to features in some of the newsmagazines
and the like.
It was an effort
that was loosely coordinated with the political work that was going
on, but very loosely coordinated. And in some respects that
revealed one of the I think problems of the effort. While it was
successful in getting media, often times the media blitz was three
months before any real political action was taking place and so by
the time the political action was there and you wished it was on the
evening news or you wished it was the editorial in the papers that
people were picking up that day, it was stale news. It was Ancient
And it wasn't
that well coordinated. Nonetheless, it produced a fantastic
array--and I don't know how many of you may have seen some of the
reports that were sent out on it, but it was two inches thick.
the Chlopak campaign, in a more targeted way, placed a lot of free
media, frequently in the newspapers that were in the districts, or
that covered the districts, of members of the House Interior
Committee that was the principal body that was wrestling with the
legislation for much of the last congressional session.
That was in
essence the campaign. There's a lot of lessons to be learned, I
think, from aspects of it, but I don't want to go into them now. I
think the format is that we'll talk about those. I merely want to
give a descriptive opening of the three components of the campaign,
the distinction between the free and the paid media and then leave
it at that until we have time for dialog.
Let's play some of the radio ads.
There used to be a lot more fish out here. Now I get my limit by
lunch time. Now [indistinct] get a bite.
don't know, they're not healthy any more. They need clean water.
And with all the logging in the forest, there's not more good water
Hey, wait a minute. Salmon don't live in the forest.
Sure they do. They begin and end their lives in streams that run
through the Ancient Forests. and when the forests are logged, and
the water gets choked up with dirt, the salmon can't spawn and they
guess that means no one has any fish any more.
Sure. You've got a choice. But what if I fished for a living? I'd
be out of a job. And you'd be out of a vacation. And your bike.
And a lot...
Okay! I think I'm beginning to get it.
Logging in the Ancient Forests is destroying our fisheries. Cutting
down more old trees will cut back the number of fish. And that
could mean we lose a billion dollar industry and thousands of jobs.
It's time to preserve American jobs by preserving America's Ancient
Forests. A message from Americans for the Ancient Forests.
Okay you want to play the other one?
That ad, by the way, was obviously specifically to counter what was
the major campaign of Wise Use. The jobs were linked to the
Have you heard the latest from the nation's capital? A Congressman
says he's got the real solution to the Ancient Forest crisis.
There's just one problem. Congressman Peter DeFazio's plan would
allow the federal government to violate today's environmental laws.
Says the Oregonian, "DeFazio wants us to trust the federal
government, even though they've broken these laws over and over
again. And what if they keep breaking the law? Too bad, because
DeFazio's plan also takes away our right to stop them. That could
hurt a lot of people, like Northwest fishermen who depend on the
billion dollar salmon industry, an industry being destroyed by
overlogging. It's time to tell our Congressman we want a real
solution for the Ancient Forests. Let's tell them we'll fight any
plan that lets the government break the law and takes away our right
to stop them. Call your Congressman today at 202-225-3121. That's
202-225-3121. Paid for by Americans for the Ancient Forests.
Then we also have LightHawk's video, which is about to be--well,
Denis, you've been working with this just a little bit. Do you want
to explain why the, uh, where it's playing and...
David's version of the LightHawk issue is this: they have entered
into a collaborative relationship with a producer known as Big
Blue. That's a small film production company headed by a fellow who
used to do all of the PR and advertising for Body Book. Body Book
went [indistinct] wind surfing...
Body Book? For people who are into surfing and wind surfing and
that sort of stuff. It may resonate more than with others. But it
became an enormously stylish, very successful company. They did a
lot of environmental advertising, and he decided he wanted to do it
full time, so he's now set it up as an independent film production
company, advertising agency to advertise on behalf of the
And following a
national trend, he moved last week to Seattle. You're concentrating
them all in Seattle. [laughter.]
They wanted to
get the ancient forests on the agenda of the presidential
campaign--so this is an ad that is specifically targeted at the two
presidential candidates. It's designed to elicit a telegram, a very
inexpensive telegram to the two presidential candidates focusing
upon the ancient forests. And this gives some graphic visual
images, which we'll see in just a second. What's important about it
is that they recognized that there is huge competition for PSAs on
television, that the cost of paid advertising is spectacularly
expensive, and so what they have done is to approach movie
theaters--Big Blue did this on the Earth Summit. They got a series
of very dramatic ads on the Earth Summit urging President Bush to
participate in it. He's now gone out to theaters asking them to do
this as well. Thus far they have signed up fourteen-hundred
theaters. There is almost a blackout in the Northwest because it's
a sufficiently controversial issue up here that even Norman Lear's
Act III Theaters don't want to do it here.
it elsewhere in the country, they have just this huge number of
theaters that are going to run this several times a night, a
preparatory feature to each of the films that comes on. The
difficulty is that having paid for the production and having paid
for the initial duplications of it, they are now out of money. To
be able to duplicate the film to send it to the theaters that have
already agreed to run it for free if they would only send it to
them, costs about forty dollars a film. So we've bellied up to bar
and given them ten-thousand dollars for 250 films. To the extent
that any of you are interested in this kind of vehicle, it's
necessary to do it relatively swiftly. Our ten thousand is because
we can do some discretionary things with ten thousand, because it's
targeted on the campaign, the whole thrust is send a telegram to the
candidates, it loses a lot of its timeliness in about a month.
They are all
prepared to go. From the time they get forty dollars to the time
it's in the theater is like two days. If any of you are prepared to
sponsor it, it would be wonderful if you did it.
Could we move the screen?
Yeah, maybe move me.
Turn the TV on.
voice-over: Some day very soon, when most of the trees in
America's national forests are gone, it will be too late to tell you
that this is public land. Our land. And every day over six-hundred
acres of America's national forests are destroyed. Some day,
someone will tell you the staggering number of jobs that were lost,
jobs from the vital industries that keep more Americans working that
those industries that destroy them. You wonder why someone didn't
tell you. You have the power to make a difference now. Take it
into your own hands. Call One-800-Be-A-Hero. This is Paul Newman
asking you to send an urgent message to both presidential candidates
demanding the permanent protection of America's national forests.
Produced as a public service in association with Big Blue.
going to ask Denis, uh. If I could call--
Denis, could you tell us where is Big Blue?
Yes, I'll get it because we have it on a card right there. Well,
why don't we just read them the address to the people who might be
interested. Send this to the attention of Michael Stewartt, who is
the president of LightHawk. And it's 311 First Avenue South, Suite
301, Seattle Washington 98104. LightHawk. L-i-g-h-t-H-a-w-k. 311
First Avenue South, Suite 301, Seattle Washington 98104.
[Paul ?] Voice:
Now the ancient forests campaign is a very targeted media campaign
and--on a national level, since it is trying to get one thing done,
which is as said, the ancient forest in effect legislation before
Congress, I also wanted to have Denis here to talk about what is
really the two largest media campaigns ever done for the
environment, that is Earth Day 1970 and Earth Day 1990, both of
which he organized. So in terms of those as media events, if you
Paul, before Denis starts, could Donald just give a quick quote on
the total cost of each of the two campaigns, or the three, when you
take in the grass roots one, the scale of effort, and so forth?
Well the grass roots media campaign was paid for largely by, I
think, the Chlopak effort. Chlopak I think spent about something on
the order of about $600,000 beginning in January  through
October  and the LightHawk effort, I believe, raised a total
of about $700,000 and I don't know how much of that was spent. The
Chlopak effort actually raised about $1.1 million but has not spent
all of the money. The amount spent was about $600,000. And I think
the media spending, to the extent there was any, by the grass roots
was really relatively small. They got money from the Chlopak
campaign for media.
I talked, probably, more than my fair share this morning. Let me do
this one relatively briefly. I think there are a couple of
structural things that I'd like to say over and beyond the really
important distinction that Don pointed out between free and paid
advertising. The concept of all of this is that we are, as most of
you, all of you, know, subjected to a continual barrage of
information. And if you look around the room at all of these
publications in front of me which I sort of glanced at, at the
T-shirt, at the mugs, at the what-have-you, at the little Starbucks
coffee thing on the paper cup, there's just this flow of things,
some of which have an impact and some of which you don't expect to
have an impact but apparently do.
If you look at
financial unpinning of movies today, it has become an important
structural component of the movie what candy bar the guy holds up,
what kinds of car the hero drives. They pay for that. A company
comes in and says, we'll give you $150,000 toward this vehicle if,
on two occasions, the guy will eat a Milky Way candy bar, and we'll
provide another 25,000 if he smiles after one of the bites.
[laughter] Something that sends back a positive subliminal message
to people that says maybe we ought to do this, especially if it's
something they can actually do right there in the theater, so they
can get their feedback.
In all of this
stuff from billboards and T-shirts and mugs and--somebody this
morning was talking about the impact of soap operas on the
television to news stories, it seems to me that the communications
fall into sort of three broad categories of human response. The
first and by far the most common and essential for our sanity is the
category of "Sinks Without a Ripple." To pass through this maze and
you filter out 98 or 99 percent of this and you are unaware that it
has even passed you by and it's probably not even lodged in your
subconscious--under hypnosis, it's just--you're swimming through
it. You manage to avoid most of the folks who are targeting on you
one way or another.
The next broad
category is that that kind of enters into the realm of noise. And
this is stuff that you consciously register and it maybe even
penetrates your short term memory and it doesn't have any lasting
impact upon your consciousness, your values, your behavior or
anything that--we all, in this kind of a group, read newspapers with
great regularity, or multiple newspapers. And by and large I would
essentially guess that--it's certainly true for me--by the time that
I get to lunch time, if you asked me to spontaneously come up with
the stories that I read that morning, I'd have real difficulty
triggering up what 95 percent of the stories were and coming up with
them spontaneously. But if you asked me a question about one of the
stories, triggered, and it was an associative memory as opposed to
total recall, I could probably still associate it at lunch. Two or
three days later it probably core dumped the entire thing unless it
was some story that fit in already in some important way with a
frame of reference that you carry around.
category, and the one that we're all concerned with here is the real
communication, the one that leaves some kind of a lasting residue
that somehow integrates its way biochemically into our consciousness
and will be carried around with us for some period of time, that
influences our behavior. It's a complicated field that I don't
pretend to know enough about. But I know that in my experience
there are two ways that you can move something from being noise to
One is like the
LightHawk business. The noise that elicits action tends to take it
to a different level. If you see this and immediately afterwards
you do something as a consequence of it, especially this, something
which costs you a little bit of money or a little bit of
inconvenience, then that combination of the information and the
action associated with it gives you a stronger kind of bond that
tends to leave it in there for a while.
And so I'm very
much personally more in favor of campaigns that are specifically
targeted that--"See this? Spend 30 seconds on it or 60 seconds on
it, and do something"--than things that don't. And in fact in some,
I, every pretense to intellectuality in me rebels against saying
this, but I think it's probably true. That something like that may
be a far better communication vehicle than a very thoughtful
reflective piece written about the intricacies of the subject in the
New York Times because that tends to promote people. Be something
where you read the first few paragraphs at best, and most people
only read the headline. Even if you read the whole story, if
nothing else bonds it to something else, it tends to disappear from
your consciousness in the deep.
It's a source of
consistent astonishment to me. To take an example that Ren will
note, a whole lot of that in Congress: people will go into hearings
and hear these profoundly moving messages all morning long on global
warming and come to--you think--have some comprehension of, say, the
most obvious relationships between CO2 and global warming even if
they don't go into the other more sophisticated aspects of it,
they'll go that afternoon and vote for a clean coal bill, because
somehow the afternoon was talking about sulfur dioxide. The morning
was talking about carbon dioxide. So you vote for the clean coal
bill, forgetting that you can't get the clean coal combusted without
producing probably more carbon dioxide than you would with dirty
coal. So you [indistinct] the [indistinct] that comes out of it.
Okay, so that's
the one broad category. Stuff that elicits action. The other
category is really the Earth Day question. This is the tough thing
to do. But the other way to cause it to really dent people is
saturation. You can have something that suddenly is in your face
for a protracted period of time until ultimately you can't sort of
read and toss it off and read it and toss it off and read it and
toss it off until suddenly you've been reading it so many times,
encountering it in so many things that suddenly you realize "I've
got to confront this. To figure out what does this mean for me?"
that war in the Gulf States. And people who are in that one out of
seven Americans who can't find the United States on a map of the
world know who Saddam Hussein is, know where Kuwait is, know a whole
bunch of stuff. Say they know who Norman Schwartzkopf is. Not
necessarily the most important information they could acquire. But
among other things learn something about the vulnerability of our
oil supplies because that globe is just in their face, day after day
For some period
of time after Bhopal, we knew a little bit about the problems that
are associated with petrochemicals in general and certainly that
pesticide in particular and Union Carbide certainly took an
incredible flap out of it.
conveys powerful images to people. God, the most powerful images
perhaps that have been conveyed in a negative sense. You can say
everything you want to about the relative safety of American
reactors and American containment vessels, about what we can do with
inherently safe reactors, the Can Do reactors, but people confronted
that visual image.
It's the sort of
thing that the Reagan administration did so beautifully by
manipulating visual images that undercut the impact of the words.
So that you had the President out in front of an old folks home
communicating through this smiling interaction with old people that
he really understands and appreciates and cares about old people,
when he makes the announcement that he's cutting 80 percent out of
the budget for senior citizens health care or something. The image
that gets communicated completely belies the words.
If you've got
this constant thing day after day of the devastation wreaked by
environmental disaster. An Exxon Valdez. Powerful images.
What we did with
Earth Day was the most difficult part of that, which was to try to
communicate positive images of opportunities to people over a
sufficiently protracted period of time that they had to confront
what does this mean for me?
that I have used on this is perhaps the most difficult to
anticipate. Sometimes this is completely random and you don't know
this is going to happen. Where it happened was the Clarence Thomas
hearings. Day after day, and there were suddenly a whole lot of men
who had never thought much about sexual harassment before started
thinking about it. I mean I know I tend to be a huggy person. Some
people probably even noticed on the stage today, I hug people a
lot. And I hug all the people in my office. And I come across this
news story in the course of this Clarence Thomas thing that says
seven out of ten women resent being hugged in their office. And I
looked at this thing and I said, Jesus!
You can hug me any time.
And I called everybody together and said, hey, is this offensive?
And be straight. I don't want to do something bad. And everybody
was very gracious and said if you don't hug us, Denis, we'll come
and hug you. And I was okay. [laughter]
There was a
heightened sensitivity from coast to coast among men. And there was
some electrifying impact from coast to coast since we all knew about
women. It was just transformed, the nation. We wouldn't have done
it if there was just one quick shot. One story in the newspaper.
Two stories in the newspaper. It was there in our faces for long
enough that we had to--
Well, with Earth
Day, what we did was try to select every vehicle of communication
that we could find in the United States and encourage them to
cooperate in this effort. We went after newspapers and met with
editorial boards from coast to coast and with reporters from coast
to coast. We went after the TV networks. We went after the cable.
We went after every newsletter, every magazine. We went to every
organized religion because Earth Day was going to be on a Sunday,
and we tried to get them to preach from the pulpit. Anything that
you can think of that delivers a message to people, somebody on that
staff at some point approached and said will you participate. And a
whole lot of folks said no. But so many said yes that for about a
month people just got sort of sick of the environment. It was on
the cover story for magazine after magazine. Even completely
unrelated magazines. In a way that we think caused people to say,
Jeez, this has really, I mean it has got to be important, that all
the time. What should I do about it? And then in the final week we
had a sort of countdown where there was a day that talks about
recycling. We got a huge number of newspapers to have their cover
stories on recycling. One on energy conservation. And one on water
conservation. On down the patch. So that by the time that that
hit, there was hopefully some receptivity to it.
That was targeted
to deal with creating a context within which we were going to be
promoting this agenda for the future. We had a series of
legislative things, and a series of lifestyle changes, and what have
you was to come out. The failure of Earth Day, this most recent
one, was that all that kind of got lost in the hoopla. We got news
stories, but they disappeared in the noise. Somehow, that didn't
tie into the other things well enough that it really got embraced.
And then what
really killed us with both Earth Days was that if you're counting on
saturation, what kills you is being trumped. And in 1970, a couple
of weeks after we had the saturation of Earth Day, with 20 million
people participating, President Nixon invaded Cambodia. And we had
these eruptions, these violent eruptions across the society. And,
you know, all the people who were out at Earth Day, or some large
fraction, suddenly were plunged entirely into a different issue and
we had to apply artificial respiration throughout the entire Fall to
get stuff going back, the Dirty Dozen campaign and the Clean Air Act
and what have you.
obviously what happened was Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and
completely shoved all of this stuff out of consciousness within a
matter of weeks of Earth Day once again. And much of what was to be
the follow-up agenda went down the chutes as a consequence. Okay.
want to talk a little bit today about New Jersey's state growth
plan, and the media strategies that foundations supported. And I've
written them down because if I try to talk without notes, I get
Within the field
of growth management, New Jersey has distinguished itself in three
ways. It is the first urbanized state to struggle with the growth
management strategy that will tie it into the next century. It is
also among the first to propose altering the traditional
relationships between development policies, land use decisions and
more equitable policies to guide the distribution of wealth and
opportunity. Finally, the process in New Jersey we used was to
arrive with a consensus about coordinated growth. The plan has been
fully negotiated with all 21 counties and 567 municipalities.
cross-acceptance process has brought citizens, local environmental
commissions, planning boards, local, county and state governments
together to compare their plans and programs and then negotiate
changes among them to achieve a statewide consensus about where and
how to accommodate population and employment growth.
cross-acceptance dialog was also extended to include private sector
and interest group participation, so that all points of view could
be factored into the state plan. Concern about the negative
consequences of unplanned development led the New Jersey legislature
in 1985 to adopt the state planning act with the aim of conserving
natural resources, revitalizing urban centers and protecting the
environmental quality through a statewide plan.
It was originally
to take 18 months. It took 84 months. There were many reasons for
this exhaustive process. From the onset the state planning process
has been controversial. A concept paper introduced in April of 87
set off a furor of opposition. Many local officials feared that the
state would mandate new zoning densities that were either too low or
too high, depending on local circumstances and needs. And while
many environmental organizations hailed the concept, development
interests claimed it would destroy the state's economy. Clearly,
the notion that the draft was merely a point of departure for
discussion was lost amid the debate.
organized quickly, leading frontal assaults and end runs. The
campaign to derail, discredit and delay the state planning
commission and the plan was under way. However, the public
involvement, education, and media approach that local foundations
has supported from the beginning of the process made a critical
difference in the outcome.
We created a
precondition for change. We helped people vision what they wanted
in their community. The media strategy was different at each stage
of the process. We targeted at each step, designed to change
attitudes. Public awareness, training the public officials,
environmental commissions, public forums, monitoring the process,
professional support for commission members, evaluation of the
interim plan, and analysis of the economic impact statement which
provided the commission with alternative solutions. Most
importantly again, foundations helped the people of New Jersey
decide what they wanted for their community.
discussion is about the mass media. And as I tried to look at our
approach, we could not really in New Jersey do mass media. New
Jersey is a state that lacks mass media coverage. We sit between
New York and Philadelphia, and our television stations are about New
York news and about Philadelphia news, expect for New Jersey public
television, which, I'm afraid to say, not very many people watch.
We really can't get good coverage on the TV.
Nor do we have a
good statewide newspaper. We have regional newspapers. And we have
the New York Times, which gives a summary of coverage for New
So clearly a mass
media campaign was not in order as we talked about this. So, early
in the process, New Jersey foundations participated and supported
the creation of New Jersey Future, an organization whose primary
mission was to promote public action in support of a sensible and
balanced growth strategy for New Jersey. New Jersey Future produced
discussion papers, studies, public dialog that ultimately enabled
New Jersey people to be heard.
I brought with me
a number of these study papers and discussion papers that we really
blanketed throughout the state at public discussions and hearings.
In the final years of the process, four New Jersey non profit
organizations submitted a joint proposal to several foundations:
Victoria, Dodge, the Fund for New Jersey, and Schumann Fund for New
Conservation Foundation, New Jersey Future, Association of New
Jersey Environmental Commissions, all organized to coordinate this
campaign to shore up the public's involvement in producing a final
plan. Again, I want to stress public involvement. The process came
up. They initiated a seamless program of statewide activities to
deliver an acceptable plan by early 1992.
But the final
media strategy came with the release of the impact assessment of the
interim state development and redevelopment plan. This assessment
was produced by the faculty and staff of the most prestigious
academic institutions and consulting firms in the country. The
analysis concluded that the plan's development scenario would save
1.3 billion in infrastructure costs. An additional $400 million in
annual fiscal savings to municipalities and school districts.
In sum, the
analysis predicted benefits for the state's economy, fiscal
resources, environment, quality of life, housing cost,
intergovernment coordination and farmlands preservation efforts. It
proved that the plan did in fact set a national standard for growth
firmly entrenched opposition was in the home building industry
continued. Disregarding the findings of the independent assessment,
opponents were able to find legislative support. And you have to
remember that in New Jersey. I guess as elsewhere, most of our
legislators are either real estate developers or lawyers. And they
tried to resurrect the battle, the oversight battle of the planning
bills seeking legislative oversight made their way through the
assembly and senate committees. But, the foundation support and
groundwork preparation really paid off. Victoria had funded the
Center for Analysis of Public Issues to conduct a statewide public
opinion survey. And I have a copy of this magazine which the whole
magazine was devoted to land use in New Jersey And on page 20, you
can pass those around, the public survey of what New Jersey people
felt. And what they found out was the New Jersey people really were
for the plan. They really believed that we should limit growth.
And you can see for yourself. It made the difference because the
New Jersey legislature wanted to listen to the people that were
going to elect the the next time around.
The New Jersey
magazine poll and survey and all of the other work that was done by
the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and New Jersey Future really
did create a mass media campaign, but it was not one that we are
talking about today as far as public television or ads. It was
really working with people and helping people determine what they
foundations played a critical role by providing operating support to
organizations educating the public, involving the public in the
decision-making process where decisions were made locally.
Foundations helped the public recognize that land use, the way we
used our land, was causing the environmental quality of life
problems in New Jersey: air, traffic congestion, you name it.
The goals of the
conservationists and the social justice community were integrated.
The plan made out tiers of development to redirect growth. It put
forward the concept of affordable housing in the city. It put
forward the concept of rebuilding our urban infrastructure, of
improving the quality of life in the state, of lessening the impact
of development and increasing the feasibility of mass transit.
stopped. We've gone on. We've just released this study Beyond the
State Plan. And I've brought some videos with me that if you want
to stay and see later you can. But that's how we approached getting
what we thought was right on the public agenda and really having the
public buy into a planning process for the state of New Jersey.
For the first campaign that we talked about, the Earth Day, the
Ancient Forests and the New Jersey Growth Management Plan kind of
illustrates a range of media projects that I've certainly seen at
the Pew Charitable Trusts and also when I was working as a
consultant at the Rockefeller Family Fund. We get all those kinds
of proposals, big, small, and in between. And I guess the first
question that I want to throw out in the first part of the
discussion really is, Is this something, these big time media,
giving that Donald rattled off some fairly large figures. $600,000
seems rather large to me in terms of where to invest the money. Is
this something that's really a viable option for us or a cost
effective option for us. And I'm going to first ask the panel
members that and then get what other people have opinions.
I think, Clark? Curt?, that public relations, clearly, free media is
cost effective. I mean that you don't need to hire an outside
consultant every time you want to do it obviously. Most of the
groups we fund do their own to a greater or lesser extent. And when
you do hire an outside consultant that's a relative cost effective
The problem with
free media is that you don't really control the message. You try to
control it. You try to get the story written the way you want it.
But there's no guarantee. The reporter, if he or she is a decent
reporter is talking to both sides, and who knows how the story
finally comes out. You can't guarantee, and you can't even usually
have any input into where it's placed in the newspaper or what time
it appears on the television or the like.
Which is why
companies rely heavily on paid media to advertise their products.
They can control the message exactly. They can control its
placement to a significant extent, the timing and all that. But the
problem from our point of view is that paid media is expensive. A
full page ad in the New York Times with guaranteed placement in a
certain section on a certain day in $53,000. Now you can get it for
as little as $7,000 but you can't control the day, you can't control
the exact placement. You can get it for somewhere in between for
about 17, $18,000 with some control. But it's tricky. And even
$17,000 is not cheap for one placement on one day. And so it's a
tradeoff. And I think for many funders and for many non profits
that they'd like to do the paid media, it's just the reach very
often times, of particularly advocacy groups.
I will mention
just one campaign. It's not environmental, that I'm following now,
and that's Ms. Foundation is running a campaign that's called Take
Your Daughter to Lunch...
[END SIDE ONE,
BEGIN SIDE TWO]
[continues in middle of another sentence]: ...large female market,
and they're trying to get a paid media campaign and have someone
else do the paying. And it remains to be seen how well it will
work. But on non-controversial, or non-adversarial issues, that's a
strategy that some, that may prove useful for some environmental
I suspect that
probably Nature Conservancy and Trust for Public Lands may have done
some of that in the past as well.
I've had this happen, in your foundation that put this on, and
embark on it in a six month program that took seven years or so.
[laughter] We have been involved in a similar campaign that's taken
seven years and if anybody had been told that's what we were going
to end with in the beginning, we'd frankly still be talking about
it. We'd never have done it. How do you judge your continuing
commitment to this thing? Do you just keep putting dollars into it?
Yeah. I have to back it up to say that Victoria's trustees really
have over the years supported, given operating support to almost all
of the conservation groups in New Jersey. It something that we
believe in. So they were ready to put this together. But when they
came to us at first about the plan. And I think the first one was
just the growth management handbook that they came in--and in fact,
Dodge funded this. Yeah, we didn't have any anticipation that we
would be doing this over an 8 year period. So each year we assessed
where we were, we saw what was happening, we redirected, we started
doing training, for instance, for the environmental commissions in
Would you have been more successful if you could have finished
No. The 7 years were really critical to getting public
cross-acceptance of the plan, to have every community. The interim
plan came out. It showed what could happen in your community and
what couldn't happen, where development could occur, where it
couldn't. You know, if it had been a quick process people would not
have had the time to buy in to vision, to really start thinking
about the way they wanted to live. And no, in retrospect I think it
was good that it was a long process.
The hand up in the back, there.
Yeah, I assume the prices you were quoting, Don, the main
broadcasting networks that, does cable television show any promise?
Uh, in terms of having people...
Well, the problem with, when you go on to television is the
production cost zooms. I mean, the production of a normal newspaper
ad is, even one that's done really professionally, is considerably
less. The communications consortium did a 30 second spot this year
for uh, on automobile pollution, and got it placed on about a
hundred and some-odd television stations, by sending it out. Some
of them were cable, some of them went over the air. But the
production cost on that--and it reached a big audience--the
production cost was $45,000 with huge amounts of donated labor for a
30 second spot. And that was very cheap, really for that type.
When you see these 30 second television commercials, they're a
couple of hundred thousand dollars. And that's the dilemma of--and
if you don't spend that and you just do it with your home video, it
looks like that. You know, it has that...
was going to say, just answering your question about cable. I mean,
when the cable system was set up, and there were federal laws that
regulated the cable operations that they had to set aside a certain
amount of their budget and make their production facilities
available to community groups to put out the community message. So
if you can't get in the loop, there are ways, and I will give this
advertisement later. We have a book specifically on cable access
and I'll talk about this when we get down to question number six.
Kathy or Denis, a question: I'm going to rephrase it. Should we be
putting a greater percentage of our environmental funding into media
than we do now? In terms of getting the kind of change that we
not really qualified to answer that. I think from a personal point
of view that there are some times when, yes, we should, when there's
a critical case. I mean, I have been absolutely stunned, after
going on LightHawk and going over those mountains. I mean, I've
been coming to EGA conferences for how many years? And you've all
been talking about ancient forests. And it never hit me like it hit
me the other day when I got in that plane and looked at what was
happening. And so people get that out, yeah, it's worth investing
Well, I think Don really put us on the horns of the dilemma. The
people who have been most effective at getting free advertising,
free media are sort of depressed at the impact that it's been
having. They put a huge amount of effort into it, spectacularly
successful, I mean Fenton is almost is a league by himself in terms
of being able to get an issue and put it on the evening news, get it
on the news story magazine programs, put it in the newspapers, get
it off the wire services, he does a marvellous job of doing it. And
there's this fear that it all perhaps adds up in some incremental
way, but the connections are very tenuous and difficult to see. I
sometimes think that the principal impact of it is funding
proposals. People send us all their press clipping to show how
effective they've been. Some reporter says--
Cutting down those trees.
Cutting down those trees. That's right. The alternative to that
that a lot of them are very enthusiastic about is, you create your
own messages, you do it with stories that you package yourself and
send to local news stations. They sometimes will pick up such
stories and run them as if their reporters had covered it
themselves. The sophisticated versions even give them room in it
for voice-overs by their local reporters to cover the story. To
produce advertisements and place them as campaigns very much like
Chrysler does when they're introducing a new product. And that
works very well for the introduction of new products. It works very
much less well in the corporate sector when you're dealing with
ideas. In some sense one is a very very very very minor contributor
to the undermining of the nuclear industry is the enormous amount of
money that they've wasted on the Committee for Energy Awareness with
all of these full page ads saying "grow your children nine ways
better with nuclear power." Nobody pays them the slightest bit of
attention. My personal favorite was, of course, "Make every day
Earth Day with nuclear power." [laugher] It had enormous success.
[laughter] then the question becomes, They can't do that because
there this contradiction and it seems like it's self promotional,
and people tend to distrust it. I don't know how effective a paid
campaign where the environmental movement--if we could put a $10
million campaign into something would be or if it would undercut us.
Yeah, I guess I think that's the real question about whether more
dollars should be donated for the media. I think the question is,
Is there a role for media in our overall strategy, and I think
absolutely yes. But it's got to be overall strategy. And I mean
one of the things we do, in my other hat when I'm giving training
sessions to people, non-profits, big ones, very sophisticated, $50
million a year budgets. And it's mind-boggling when you get the
vice presidents for communications together and you start asking how
these campaigns are not integrated into the rest of their program
activities. Over and over and over and over again so I think a
media program by itself doesn't make any sense. Whereas, the
overall goal that you're trying to accomplish and to get it
integrated, and I think when that's well articulated it's a valuable
part of the program, otherwise...
want to take of on the major theme of what Chuck was talking about.
If we get kind of realistic, at least from our standpoint, our sense
is that most of the major environmental non-profits have a poor
understanding of media campaigns, of how to do an outreach to the
public beyond their constituency and membership, and that on regular
occasions we've received partial proposals or ideas that really
aren't cutting it. I want to ask a couple of things about this
observation, and the observation is that most of the Big Ten, or
what they were called, really don't understand media at all and tend
to throw their money down the toilet when they try to use it. So if
there is a role in strategy, and I'd like to talk quite specifically
and hard right now, what role do funders have if this observation is
correct, and the view is correct on you, in trying to elevate their
own abilities and consciousness on how to integrate a media strategy
into what they're trying to do.
That's a good question and I don't know what I'd say that might take
off of that, but in terms of the Fenton-Chlopak ads, there was also
another target besides the public, intended or not: Congress
itself. I can guarantee you that after what the integrated campaign
between the grass roots and the Chlopak ad on DeFazio quite frankly
scared the living hell out of him. And that's the kind of ad that
he would have expected from a political opponent. It was the kind
of tactics that wakes them up the most. I think that it was quite
effective, quite helpful. And whether you can do it all the time,
or whether it's a specific time, you know, I don't know.
hope to speak to a couple of these other points. two things, one is
that what the panelists describe very convincingly and excellently
were specific campaigns. And I think that what we face as donors is
more frequently is the media component of the larger strategy or
ongoing work. And to evaluate that, I think there are different
levels of media, uh, presence in media and sophistication. There's
myriad basic skills and strategizing which Chuck just mentioned, I
think is very important skills in being able to reach the media and
talk to them and integrate it with the rest of the work.
another level of establishing oneself as a player. Some of these
shape the debate. And then the third level is the more permanent
campaign of creating one's own media and making our television,
radio and print media out ourself and getting into the mainstream.
I think all three levels of that can be very effective. And we all
ought to pay attention to them. Because most organizations,
certainly grass roots organizations, are only going to be able to do
the lowest level, the basic approach to the media, and the media to
get a message to them. More sophisticated organizations, NRDC or
these others who have expert scientists on staff can help shape the
debate, which is extremely crucial over the long haul. I think I
disagree with you, Denis, a little bit on this way people sort of
weed out information in getting from the Times and the Post and so
on. I think there can be very effective campaigns if we think about
it over the long haul if you are able through scientific expertise
and a smart media strategy, you can shape the terms of the debate.
The Union of Concerned Scientists we did that on Star Wars. We were
able to stigmatize the entire program as scientifically and
strategically bankrupt, and Reagan administration had to respond to
that, those scientists ever since then, for ten years. The program
is still wanted, but it's a lot less. But that was mainly through
scientific critique and some discrete but important interventions in
the news media, including some work by Fenton. And the top layer--I
think I just want to put in one more point that not just campaigns,
the specific campaigns, some of which were quite expensive, and some
were counter effective, but I think we should also pay attention to
our allies in the news media, particularly the print media.
Newspapers and magazines that cover these issues, non-profits like
Mother Jones, and The Nation and High Country News and all kinds of
good print media that are going to cover these issues, and can do it
as investigative funds can access and want to access money through
foundations, and can do a pretty good job in exposes and informing
opinion leaders as well as activists and ordinary citizens about
these issues. So as we evaluate the total, I think we need three
different levels of media approach, of media strategy. But I think
it's helpful that each one is different and has its own needs and
its own cause.
Any reaction by any player up here?
At the tactical level, as long as we're doing some of this by
funding Mother Jones, the thing that we have done a little bit of,
but you might want to consider as a funding strategy is, you're
familiar with the new wave of environmental magazines, most of whom
are having a fair bit of difficulty right now financially, in this
last grant cycle we bought subscriptions for E Magazine for every
public library in the Pacific Northwest as a means of getting it in
there where people will see it. Hopefully the libraries will
resubscribe. You get a high multiplier, and so they put a lot of
these circulation blanks into each of those magazines, send the out
and hopefully pick up a lot of new consumers. It's a way of getting
information out wholesale and retail simultaneously. It's worth
considering. Cheap. They sell them to you as cheaply as they can.
want to ask the panel about something that happened to come up. At
Columbia Foundation we fund media but not mass media, it's much more
a balance of--I think some of them have been very effective when
they're used kind of within the Republican community [indistinct].
I finally got thinking about, What are the instances where we have
massive change in the paper probably in this country. The one thing
I can think about is the drunk driving campaign and the anti smoking
campaign, maybe recycling. I don't know that'll happen. But
clearly the anti smoking campaign and the drunk driving campaign
we've had massive change in public opinion. In a very short time
frame. It hard to get people to stop smoking. Just think what's
happened in this country. What can we learn from that? We're
talking about the news media, not just for the legislators and not
just for a targeted district. But really to build an environmental
majority we're talking now. I'm, what have we learned from that? I
can't think of any campaign that I know of, maybe I'm missing a lot,
but that's really resulted in a massive change.
This is directed to the panel?
panel, well, anybody, but I was asking the panel to respond.
Well, I think another example would be nuclear power. Certainly the
combination of the China Syndrome and Three Mile Island and
Chernobyl, all of the media certainly changed that industry,
eliminated it for all practical purposes. Don was personally
responsible for Chernobyl. [laughter]
don't believe that it eliminated it.
Well, at the present time there are no nuclear plants being built in
I want to address your point. I, my professional work is in
recycling and I was out in public education. And I find that media
is a sort of supportive mechanism to get people aware of the issue,
but really what makes the changes is personal contact and outreach.
One of the programs I've started in Seattle called Master
Composters, we did work a lot with free media and a lot of tv and
newspaper and all that other stuff to raise awareness, but it isn't
until we've trained two or three hundred volunteers to go out there
and get a message out...
Like the [indistinct].
Exactly. And that's where the combination of an outreach campaign
with the proper tools and the media to support that, you can create
community action. And in our city now compost is a household word.
There's probably a quarter to a third of the households that
compost, are composting at home. But it is a process that takes
time. I think that where we lose our impact is we expect to go in
for a month or a week or a short period of time, do a media blitz,
as Denis was saying, you just go in and out and that's why people
forget about it. And you gotta be [indistinct].
I think that this--[indistinct] who edited that report--just one
observation that I wanted to add, was that the environmental, big
environmental groups, in [indistinct] seem to have a real narrow
focus and all they really do is direct mail. And it seems like
that's, you know, you keep hitting the came group of people over and
over again. And maybe that's obvious, but the thing is that that
seems to be where their expertise is. But beyond that they do
really seem to have, you know, there may be exceptions here and
there, but they really don't seem to have any expertise in what the
big media--cable systems, you know, on the air TV, radio and all
that. There are, of course the possibilities are there, so it seems
to me to be a real opportunity for funders to look at what the
possibilities for overall strategies are. Because there doesn't
seem to be really all that much going on from these groups
themselves. I've heard instances where they've tried TV advertising
and this just got written off as something they just can't do.
just wanted to say briefly. We've been in preparing for
[indistinct]. I did look at all the literature of some of the
campaigns we're mentioning and some others. And at least in terms
of campaigns that have been studied, most of the ones that have been
studied closely, the government ones--the government put money into
it--the three that are considered successful are [indistinct]
cigarettes and food and nutrition. And drunk driving,
interestingly, has not been successful. There is absolutely no
truth, they say, in the levels of drunk driving or designated
driving. And Jay Winston [?] is now undertaking a study to try to
do that. What is interesting about some of this--I mean there are
lots and lots of theories about it and lots of people say they're
convinced in the social science literature--the more accepting the
public is of the message, the easier, obviously, it is to change the
behavior. Smoking is a very interesting one because of course the
surgeon general report came out in 1964, had an immediate impact,
but within 3 months smoking levels were back up. What they
attribute the change to was not so much the message directly, but
the second-hand smoking report that caused citizen groups to enact
legislation and in fact started really to really act. The other
thing they also attributed it to is children. When children started
getting the message and saying to their parents You're going to die,
that meant something to the parents. Now whether that, the message
is still there...
Is there a lesson?
Well, there is. There is a lesson there. But it was really
definite. I just had the, I mean I have lots of literature.
What about peer pressure and children's parents?
Well, shame is... [audience laughter] financial force is nothing,
although they never deal with that.
What about the ban on promotional advertising?
helped. Helped a lot. I mean, once you get to really, to see the
law on [airplane noise obscures voice].
That's a, that's a really interesting twist on television
advertising, because it turns out in the smoking controversy what,
what encourages people to begin smoking tends not to be
advertising. It's peer expectations, images that you have of people
relaxing after sex with a cigarette on in bed, and all the other
positive things that they've been putting through to us in movies
and other subliminal ways. But advertising itself is principally,
as it's impacting you to smoke Philip Morris or to smoke Marlboros,
what the sequence is with regard to advertising is a series of
efforts under the fairness doctrine to get counter-cigarette
advertising on television. Whenever there was a cigarette ad on
television, I think it was a ratio of one to three. So what we had
then was a whole series of cigarette companies that were putting ads
on television in order to get them to smoke Philip Morris instead of
Marlboro, whenever they had three of these ads, then there was an ad
that came on that said Don't smoke at all, it's going to kill you.
It was having some effect in persuading people not to smoke. So the
total cigarette sales were continuing to go down, which made
Marlboro and Philip Morris want to advertise more to get a larger
fraction of this declining market. As they advertised more, then
suddenly under the fairness doctrine there's more opportunity for
this public interest group to discourage smoking cigarettes
[laughter] and there's not much notice. But the effort in Congress
to have cigarette advertising banned was by the American Tobacco
Institute, it was in fact a response to this phenomenon where they
were caught in a Catch 22. But the point of moving to legislative
solutions and institutionalize one's values, I think is a really
important one. If you're talking about these kinds of windows to
change behavior, if you can convert that into a local law that bans
smoking in restaurants and that bans smoking in buildings--at
Stanford now they have a law that says you're banned from smoking.
You can't smoke in the football stadium, even though it's open air.
That brings in an institutionalized thing, that applies a sanction
to these people that kind of look down their noses at people who are
engaged in this kind of anti-social behavior. That's unsanctioned.
Did you have your hand up?
Yeah. The Angelina Fund has not funded to date campaigns, but we've
been interested in funding capacities of different types. We've
sort of merged, we're supposed to this [indistinct]. So for
example, we built on the needs of E Magazine example Denis gave.
And we've been trying to do all sorts of funding for these, this
institution called Center for Alternative Journalism. A coalition
of eighty weekly newspapers, the Chicago Leader, the Los Angeles
Weekly, each of which is itself self-sufficient per the needs of the
[indistinct] to make the [indistinct] institutions. To start having
editorial content go to all 80 of those. Our goal and this is
strictly as funders of these (c)(3)s, is we'd like to see a monthly
magazine developed with one editorial content which would be our
press carrying our kind of messages to five million leaders every
week--once a month to begin with, but ultimately every week. And it
would be the pro-environmental for profit, the for profit
organizations with a new capacity would be there. And it's that
sense of capacity, so we're not each time reinventing the campaign
mode. We realize that, especially where we support media criticism,
we have, our feeling is that FAIR, Fairness And Accuracy in
Reporting, when it's gone after MacNeil-Lehrer, when it's gone after
some of these other TV shows, it's had impact and it's brought new
modes with it. So at then no additional expense, they have to start
bringing in our sort of voices instead of the middle of the road
conservative voices that have dominated evening news. The third
thing that we've been interested in is looking at the future of
communication, which I know you have too. We've given a lot of
support to Jeff Chester and Kathy Montgomery who were imported from
the West Coast, who have just changed the possibilities in
Washington because they're the only eco-based people that, who
understand what's going on in Congress on new modes of
communication. And it going to change what we can do and the cost
of what we can do and who we can reach. And yet they don't have a
whole lot of support and there's not a whole lot of their folks in
[indistinct] who are doing that. And they really need some help to
get started in D.C. It's those three things which are all capacity
issues in one sense or another, institutional issues, so we don't
always have these campaign-specific costs and crushes.
Michael? And Patricia?
second that idea that there's gotta be a facilitator of an
environmental majority and maybe we do that by not focusing
exclusively on campaigns. But a lot, of course at the time it was a
good thing. And there's a story that illustrates that that I think
is part of the problem. Apparently, most people who make
environmental films are documentary people, and typically they make
them in a way that is not commercially salable. I have a good
friend who bought film properties for National Geographic for
years. And she said that in an effort to encourage people to
produce marketable film properties they sponsored an environmental
film festival, and there were 300 films that eventually were shown
at the festival out of several thousand that were submitted. None
of them made it to broadcast. Which was interesting. And partially
it's because the formula that people use when they're making films
is totally antithetical to commercial formula. So getting film
people who are in film now to bring that message into a commercially
salable form is their strategy. And getting people who are making
documentaries to use a more formulaic method of making a commercial
vehicle surround their message will also produce a couple of
Is there some, can you explain briefly what it was about those films
that wasn't commercial?
She, she explained it to me, but it didn't resonate.
Was it technical about the content?
There is apparently--I hate to make this, this is truly, because
I've been deceived, but there's apparently a very formulaic method
of making a drama. And you have a man who is the main character,
and you have a key moment, and that's repeating, and then there's,
you know, a resolution very quickly and something else happens. It
sounds too simple to be true, but apparently writers in Hollywood
spend their time sort of using this formula and filling in holes.
And that's how this successful--so why not appropriate that model
and we put what we want to have in it.
Michael, my name is [indistinct]. There's a lot of junk being made
in Hollywood [indistinct].
Well, I don't know how we foundations can help stimulate
commercially viable films, but with The China Syndrome, the
[indistinct] it's just not good entertainment when you no longer
reach the usual suspects. The values of [indistinct] I just wanted
to sort of second the motion that we all fund [indistinct]
communications. How are these [indistinct] a lot of talking and a
lot of attention is being focused on what the multi-media
electronics, see the highway to the future and say [indistinct] to
society. The fact that at last somebody is looking at the Federal
Communications Commission's public access to communications, may
essentially be a dead letter. I think we taken the approach that
the reasons were we've been priced out of a practical avenue to new
technology for a lot of us. Standards that a scarcity regime has
justified [indistinct] have been supplanted by a deregulatory
adjustment. So if you wanted the same place we as funders just
[indistinct] how to reach the environmental movement. And they
didn't understand [indistinct] in the new information age.
I just want to shift gears now for the time remaining. Anyone is
welcome to continue with the question they were going to ask. But
to especially ask foundations here and members of the panel if you
have worked with communications consultants or with any
organizations that you have found that your grantees have worked
with or you've worked with individually who you would recommend as a
place for people to go. And with that lead-in, let me just call on
Craig to explain a little bit more than he did.
We also sponsored Jeff Chester and gang and that's one of our areas
of concentration is that there's a diversity of media in Washington
and that the FCC on what's going to happen in the future. But two
things that I think are very much of importance for all of us here.
The one thing is that our foundation has sponsored an advocacy media
conference in May of this year. And we're looking for people to
attend, to participate. There is, if we could pass that around so
everybody can get a copy that would be great. We're trying to get
together funders, producers and some of the non profit groups
together to look at how we can make more advocacy videos effective
in getting the message out. And there's a brief description in the
letter here. And we welcome the participation of the people who
would like to have that.
I'd to put in a plug for the [indistinct] foundations. I think that
[indistinct] for grants for our grantees, because it runs the gamut
of how to use media from talk radio to cable access, to [indistinct]
to use paid media to how to get onto the op-ed page and a lot of
things. I think it's a wonderful [indistinct] of publications.
Can I ask you a question? You have said that one end of the scale
now is, you know, [indistinct]. I want to explain to folks about a
series that we have. The MacArthur, Johnson, Ford and Carney
Foundations have purchased between 500 and 1,000 of these books,
sets of these book for their grantees. Now if we could pass over
the next fact sheet here that's under the one here. We have an
order form here for the booklet Money Raising. Very quickly what
you've got. This one is I think the general picture on how to
design and a [indistinct] campaign. This is how to do electronic
networking so that you can be involved and get your people involved
in your campaign, in touch. We have media advocacy, another general
thing about how to use the media. Op-ed, newspaper kind of things,
how to do that. Voice programs, talk radio, using video and then
last but not least cable access. So we've got a series here to--the
books are available, but also we're more than operative on issues.
We've got two very competent staff people that provide technical
assistance to other foundations and get involved in the Council on
Foundations and they have a media section of the Council on
Foundations board. We also provide technical assistance directly to
non profit groups. Our focus right now is on kids, but I know that
after [indistinct], back in the environmental business, and that's
why I was put on the board with all the gains in the environmental
field and that is why I'm here to start networking with folks and
let the people know that we're available to help.
Do you have any Veg-A-Matics there? [laughter]
Your part of mission of funding the little labor and [indistinct]
money back, say whatever it is. And I imagine it would probably be
a center of [indistinct] in San Francisco. It was originally funded
by West Coast groups. And population groups. Do any of you know
what the statistics are on the appeal potential of please return
environmental foundation loan funds in our--have you written any
I don't quite understand the question.
Do you have any--have you put out full-page ads. Almost all of
those, unless they land on a [indistinct] day lose money.
Lose money and gain zero back. You get half back or thirty back,
you try to get fifty.
[indistinct] to pay for your ad. But they don't return
I doubt they could pay for their ads. That's not my experience with
them. Maybe they would know better than I which is more
like to move back to environmental issues specifically and ask for
the opinion of the people here and the members of the panel, we have
a couple of major campaigns coming up. The Ancient Forests in one
certainly, the Endangered Species Act is another. And there are
other national campaigns and potential campaigns that we're running
or doing something about in the next several months. I'm curious to
know how Kenneth, Donald and other see the role of media in those
two or others that you might want to talk about. And then further
the role, perhaps, of foundations.
Well, it's actually in an area I've thought a lot about because of
the experience of this Americans for the Ancient Forests effort.
And so let me give a slightly larger answer, and I'll try to be
quick. I, there is no organization today that can wage any one of
these national campaigns by itself. And given the experience on the
forest issue and others, I'm somewhat pessimistic that a collection
of national groups are going to be able to get together and divvy up
the work in an effective way and manage a campaign. What I keep
thinking about now on these national efforts is that--and this would
take a major role by large funders to help drive this--is that
there's almost a kind of a modular kind of a campaign where you
would take people from different groups and take different
expertises together to assemble, so you'd end up with a task force
of people from maybe five or six different groups that were under
some central direction. Part of the problem in the forest campaign
is you had a lot of these elements including lots of these media
folks, paid and free. But there was no central direction and very
little co-, uh, no one was able to really say, okay, like a
quarterback, you go this way, you go this way, you do this, you do
that. There was never a control mechanism. So it became too
house there's not the media expertise. And equally clearly, except
for a handful of campaigns, you can't afford the outside experts.
Chlopak's core budget for himself and his core staff was $15,000 a
month and that is doing it at a pro bono rate. The reason we used
him is he quit Sawyer-Miller, that wanted something like $30,000 a
month to do the same thing that he was giving us at half price. And
Fenton's campaign, I don't know what his core monthly operating
budget was, but it had to be in that same ball park, $10,000 a
month. So these are very expensive efforts, really. I mean they're
not expensive relative to the stakes, but relative to foundations'
normal response, these are costly...
audience: Did foundations ever pool their money out front ahead
of the time on these campaigns?
Well, that's how this was done.
It was the first time out, this on the Ancient Forest thing.
The Ancient Forest stuff was pooled within the Wilderness Society,
actually acted as the fiscal agent. But there was a three person
board set up with the Wilderness Society having one of the seats, to
manage that money as a separate venture from the Wilderness--they
were writing checks.
But I think
that's what you're going to need. Might be interesting, what I
think the answer to the question is, is that if we're going to have
a chance, clearly media is going to have to be a major part. Can
you imagine the campaign against endangered species when we saw what
they did with just a little owl on the woods? And when you hit
endangered species that every snail and every this and every that,
they're going to just pound us. So there's clearly going to have to
be a major media component, but by itself, not integrated with the
politics, it's not going to be enough.
I think that I would agree with everything that Don just said. To
sort of let our hair down here a little, I think that we probably
disagree about how effective lobbying was in the early 70s in the
environmental movement, but it was certainly more effective than it
We put together
the Clean Water Act and there was just no ambiguity: NRDC was the
lead organization, and people took their assignments, we all
reported in. For the coalition against the SST, then Friends of the
Earth was the leader, we all took our assignments, we reported in.
For the Clean Air Act, Environmental Action was the leader, we took
our assignments and we reported in. It all ran like fairly smooth
Lots of glitches,
but it was substantially better than today. And there central
repositories and there was a line of decision-making. What has
happened since then in the evolution of these national groups is
that they are so driven by membership response that each wants to
claim credit for anything that happens legislatively, than in a
media strategy, whoever gets out front and is quoted in the lead
paragraph gets to send that out with their mass mailing, and
underlined in red that they did this. And it requires people to
have very sharp elbows and then the media becomes really driven by
some of those concerns.
It's crucial that
we have a media component to some of these campaigns. I despair a
little bit as to how we're going to put it together. But we are
certainly going to be under a vast assault in the Endangered Species
Act. I guess it's way out, by the context of this meeting, but I
think that we may also have to rethink the Endangered Species Act,
and rather than just on a pure preservationist thing say what
fundamentally are we trying to achieve here. And what is a position
that we can in a strategic way say Yes, we will draw the line here
no farther. And it may not be where the lines are drawn right now.
It may have more of an ecosystem focus. I'm not sure that thinking
is going on inside the coalition. What we have done in this regard
to it in our modest way in this enormously preliminary way to really
let hair down tonight, is not media at all, it's grass roots
organizer, but it gives you some insight as to our thinking. We got
a proposal for a grass roots organizer to handle the Northwest and
to some extent the West Coast of the United States for this
campaign. Somebody asked him the question of due diligence where
the person would be located, and he was to be located in Washington,
D.C. And then we sort of raised some objections and we started
talking about Seattle. And we finally sort of agreed that the right
place to have it was in Tom Foley's district. It's not particularly
media, but you ought to have somebody there with the local
newspapers whose votes and relationships in addition to the grass
roots stuff has part of the media campaign. We've got an expert
right there to be quoted in the local papers, in the pivotal office
on that issue in the first six months of that issue.
I'm going to use that to wrap this up and with an aside in the
following comment, which is that, you know, it's nice to have
workshops you hope that you will come away from one with answers.
And there's a number of really nice media projects along the
environmental area that have been done not just with last year, but
the last ten years. And it shows us what's possible. But despite
the growing number of consultants in the field it's still very
difficult as to who to go into it, how big an effort to make and how
well coordinated it is to any targeted legislative efforts. And I
think that that means that the lesson that I draw from that, and
nothing in this discussion disabused me of this notion, which is
that we as funders have to be insightful as to where we're going to
dump essentially a large chunk of money just on these small media
projects that come across our desks. And we don't have enough
resources to go to people and say how do we evaluate this or who's
good at it or whatever. And I would hope that future EGA panels or
groups of funders can tell me, and I would be willing to and hope to
work with some in my position at Pew, if we could start working
together at evaluating these sort of things, because it's, you know,
you just get avalanched by it.
I just want to say one thing. I think the real challenge for us
here in this community and in the non-profits is to develop the
in-house capacity to develop our own media experts within the
foundations and in the non-profit organizations. Because
consultants are expensive and they usually are kind of a one shot
kind of deal, and we need to build the institutional capacity in our
movement to work with media and get the message out and that means
education and training. That means what we should do, especially
the foundations, we can provide education and training for media
I'd like to thank the panel members.
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