If you’re reaching out to the news media as part of your grassroots social justice campaign, it’s important to know the difference between your hook and your message. Your news hook is whatever you use to get reporters to show up in the first place (e.g. hanging a banner on Mount Rushmore). A campaign message is what you actually want to communicate to the public, through the filter of the news media (e.g. “America needs real leadership from President Obama on the issue of global warming.”).
Do I see Beyond the Choir co-founder Madeline Gardner up there?
Hooks and messages are rarely the same exact thing, and it is important to know the difference. An attention-grabbing tactic (which is the hook) can all too easily become the entire story, without any reporting about why activists might go to such lengths. More times than not this is what contemporary mainstream news coverage of protests and direct actions looks like. I have helped to plan actions that were only covered as part of the traffic report because the news desks had decided that the only thing relevant to their audience about our action was the potential that we would disrupt the smooth flow of traffic!