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National Crime Victims' Rights Week: April 10-16, 2005 bannerNational Crime Victims' Rights Week: April 10-16, 2005 bannerNational Crime Victims' Rights Week: April 10-16, 2005 banner


Working With the Media

Good media relations require good media contacts, with an emphasis on journalists who cover issues related to crime and victimization. Members of your 2005 NCVRW Planning Committee should be asked to contribute names and contact information for journalists who have an interest in these issues. Invite them to serve on the Planning Committee.

A great way to develop a baseline Media Directory for your jurisdiction is to enter the words "media listing" into any Internet search engine. Various resources that appear include news media contacts by geographical region, format (newspapers, radio, television and Webbased), and subject (including "crime"). A good Media Directory is the first important step in developing and cultivating productive relationships with the news media, and providing them with ongoing information and resources relevant to crime victims' issues and key concerns, and current events related to crime and victimization.

Sample Press Release

This year's NCVRW is particularly newsworthy because it commemorates the 25th anniversary of this annual observance, and provides the opportunity to reflect upon the many accomplishments of our field over the past quarter-century, as well as the challenges that still remain.

The sample press release offers a "then and now" historical perspective of the victim assistance field, including a quotation from President Ronald W. Reagan about why he instituted NCVRW as a national observance in 1981. A quotation from OVC Director John W. Gillis provides a national perspective to complement state and local efforts. Sample quotations are also provided for designated spokespersons that can be adapted to reflect issues specific to a state or local jurisdiction.

Your 2005 NCVRW press release should be sent at least ten days prior to NCVRW (by April 1st). Follow-up phone calls or e-mails can help remind news media representatives about the importance and community awareness value of covering NCVRW events and activities.

Sample Public Service Announcements

The three sample public service announcements (PSAs) are designed to accommodate public service advertisement programming slots for television and radio media – 60 seconds, 30 seconds, and 15 seconds. Each PSA requires personalization that reflects the most critical issues of your state or local jurisdiction, as well as local contact information (by both telephone and Internet access).

Most television and radio stations appreciate advance submission of PSAs – at least six weeks prior to NCVRW (or March 1, 2005). Personal contacts for PSA submissions are essential. Members of your 2005 NCVRW Planning Committee can divide up different news media stations, and attempt to make personal contacts with public service or news directors at each medium, who can provide guidelines for PSA submission and their preferred format.

Many stations accept PSAs that are read on the radio or television by news anchors or other on-air personalities, while some prefer that a spokesperson from the organization or coalition submitting the PSA read it, which is taped for broadcast (this is called a "news actuality"). Personal contacts with broadcast media and appropriate follow-on calls or e-mails will help ensure that your 2005 NCVRW PSAs are aired to the widest possible broadcast audience.

Sample Opinion/Editorial Column

If you want to persuade the public about the vital importance of crime victims' rights and services, an opinion/editorial column is an excellent venue. The sample opinion/editorial column – which includes topics that should be personalized to your state or jurisdiction – offers a comprehensive national perspective of the progress of crime victims' rights and services since the inception of NCVRW in 1981. It also emphasizes the 2005 NCVRW theme, and challenges individuals and communities to reflect on crime victim services as a means of ensuring justice for victims, and for our society as a whole.

Most newspapers publish their guidelines and requirements for submitting opinion/editorial columns on their Web sites; submissions should be mailed, emailed or hand-delivered at least two weeks prior to NCVRW, with a request to publish it on a designated day (Sunday, April 10th or Monday, April 11th is best).

In addition, the sample opinion/editorial column can be easily adapted to be a taped actuality for radio or television. Actualities are 60-second editorial statements read by the author and taped for future public broadcast. Your local television and radio stations can provide guidelines about the format and acceptance of broadcast actualities.

A Crime Victim's Experience: Then and Now

When you try to imagine what crime victims experienced 25 years ago, images are conjured up of the lack of rights and services, insensitive or indifferent treatment, and efforts to seek justice that were often fruitless and frustrating. This document features a hypothetical scenario of a rape victim – culled in part from victims' actual experiences 25 years ago – that offers a perspective of how victims were treated. This scenario can be adapted to reflect recollections about the treatment of victims in 1981, and/or incorporate the actual insights and memories of victims of various types of crime in your jurisdiction. It can be followed with a description of how the treatment of this rape victim would differ today in 2005.

There are many applications for this scenario. It can be utilized to offer a dramatic "then and now" comparison in the sample opinion/editorial column, or in speeches and other public presentations. The goal is to contrast the terrible plight of victims 25 years ago, as compared to today, and focus on the many improvements that have enhanced crime victims' rights and services since the first NCVRW was declared 25 years ago.

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National Crime Victims' Rights Week: Justice Isn't Served Until Crime Victims Are April 10–16, 2005
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