Voices’ Blog

Spotlighting Your Media Successes

January 19, 2018 - 11:33 am
This post highlights media coverage shared by five JusticeVoices Network members. Whether it led to a policy change or a positive outcome for a client, spurred fundraising efforts, or helped convey the value of civil legal aid to an important audience, each of these stories made a difference in 2017. 

At Voices, we know that media is an incredibly powerful advocacy tool, but you needn’t just take our word for it. As we enter 2018, the Voices team is taking a moment to celebrate and share some of the recent media successes of our JusticeVoices network members.

We asked network members to send us their stories of media coverage that they believed made a difference—whether it led to a policy change or a positive outcome for a client, spurred their fundraising efforts, or helped them convey the value of civil legal aid to an important audience.

Their stories are below. We hope you find them as motivating and inspiring as we do.

  • Ariel Levinson-Waldman, Founding President and Director-Counsel, Tzedek DC, shared this piece in the National Review, by conservative columnist Mona Charen, which he says “came about after a Rabbi suggested to Ms. Charen that she might consider writing about our work as she looked for Holiday-time activities to celebrate.  The piece was helpful for us in conveying to a national audience — and one with a broader set of political views than usually focus on our work — the need for legal aid for low-income families facing debt challenges. ”
  • Jacob Inwald, Director of Foreclosure Prevention, Legal Services NYC, shared this Buzzfeed article, which arose because, “as part of a coalition with which we work, a relationship with these reporters evolved and we supported their very lengthy investigation into the subject.” Jay notes that the article, “was not about promoting our services or our organization, but garnering important media attention to the covered phenomenon, and featured quotes from several of our staff and colleagues from our peer organizations.”
  • Alexandra Pullara, Marketing Specialist at Bay Area Legal Services (Tampa, Florida) wrote, “We celebrated 50 years of providing legal services to our community this year, and kicked off our new Veterans Legal Initiative with a celebratory event.  We wanted to have our new veteran’s initiative featured in the media around the same time as our event and we worked closely with Søren to craft media pitches to local news outlets. We have been featured by Ernest Hooper of the Tampa Bay Times in the past and our event coordinator also has a close relationship with him.  We used Søren’s tips and Ernest covered the issue just in time for our big event!…The timing was everything for us and helped create a buzz in our local community. We also had a volunteer call us who saw the article and wanted to get involved. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for many years and is proving to be a very valuable asset to us.”
  • Caitlin Brown, Communications Director, Community Legal Services(Philadelphia), says that CLS has advocated for stronger nursing home enforcement in Pennsylvania for years, and released a report two years ago on how the PA Department of Health (DOH) had failed to protect nursing home residents.Caitlin writes, “After releasing the report, we worked with the media to keep attention on this issue and have had 50 media placements related to nursing homes in the last two and a half years. Since we have started bringing attention to this issue and advocating for stronger enforcement, we have seen changes in the way that DOH operates… Now, nursing homes know they must follow the rules or pay the price. As we continue to strengthen protections for nursing home residents and monitor the progress that is being made, CLS will remain diligent and persistent in holding nursing homes and enforcement agencies accountable for patient safety.”
  • Maria Duvuvuei, Director of Development and Communications, Community Legal Aid (Northeast Ohio), shared this article on their medical-legal partnership, HEAL (Health Education Advocacy and Law) project, from Crain’s Cleveland Business Journal, which Maria says, “helped broaden the audience of community members aware of legal aid and its value.”

In 2018, Voices would like to help you achieve your own media success story. If you think media coverage could help you achieve your policy, development, or other advocacy goals, reach out to us. We’re here to support you and the important work you do.

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia, Community Legal Aid (Central Northeast Ohio), Tzedek DC, Legal Services NYC (LSNYC), Bay Area Legal Services (Tampa) (BALS)
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A Movement is Growing

December 19, 2017 - 11:05 am
Statewide approaches to communications and media are now bubbling up from coast to coast, and we are beginning to see good results.

Something is happening in states across the country.

That was the main takeaway from Voices’ session at this year’s NLADA conference. More than 40 state leaders exchanged lessons learned in the process of building coordinated statewide communications efforts.

What did we learn?

In the same way that Access to Justice Commissions have spread to most states, statewide approaches to communications and media are now bubbling up from coast to coast.

This year, several states have expanded their statewide communications infrastructure to support their funding and advocacy goals, and leaders from five of these states shared their experiences at the conference session. Several other states are exploring this strategy to create coordinated communications networks with allies in the civil justice sector across program lines.

Some of this progress grew out of a shared recognition that we have been speaking mostly to ourselves for too long — and that it will take unified messaging and consistent media attention to effectively convey the value of civil legal aid and the good work of providers to new communities and allies.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. In some states, ATJ commissions have created communications subcommittees. In other states, another existing entity or coalition of civil justice leaders has taken on the role of coordinating a communications initiative.

In a year when the threat to federal funding for legal aid became all too real, we could not be more encouraged by the organizing and the work that is being done on the state level. It motivates us every day that so many of you have embraced the statewide approach.

And we are beginning to see the results. Earlier this year in Washington state, a coordinated communications campaign accompanied by a media plan contributed to a major legislative victory – an increase of $5 million in state funding for civil legal aid.

In 2018, even as we keep up our drumbeat of national media coverage, we are committed to devote more of our time on the state level and help you shape narratives and land coverage in local markets. You will hear more from us about that in the beginning of next year.

For now, if you are looking to be a part of an existing statewide communications effort, want to learn more about what is going on across the country, or are looking to get an initiative started in your own state, get in touch with us. We are here to help.

Geographic coverage: NATIONAL
Tags: Communications
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Help Us Craft Our 2018 Plan

November 29, 2017 - 6:14 pm
We want to know how Voices can best support your communications work.

The New New Thing

October 23, 2017 - 4:06 pm
Statewide communications networks are the new new thing in spotlighting civil legal aid. Are you ready to work with Voices to create a JusticeVoices network in your state? At the 2017 NLADA Annual Conference in Washington DC, we will convene the first-ever gathering of state leaders to spotlight emerging models for strategy-setting, staffing and communications plans in several pioneering states.

Words to embrace, words to replace

October 9, 2017 - 2:04 pm
In this post, we spotlight the contributions of messaging expert Anat Shenker-Osorio who applies tools from cognition and linguistics to examine not just which words work when discussing civil legal aid and access to justice, but also to explain why certain words work when others don't.

Florida Bar Foundation Uses GIS to Develop Powerful Communications Tools

September 18, 2017 - 3:43 pm
In preparation for 2017's ABA Days in Washington, DC , the Florida Bar Foundation teamed up with SRLN to develop powerful tools for showing policy makers the impact of LSC funding on the lives of Floridians in every part of the state. In this post, FBF Communications Director Nancy Kinnally explains why she believes the the same sort of analysis that made the ABA Day team’s visuals so powerful could be used to communicate with other key audiences, making media, legal advocacy and philanthropic efforts more effective.

News Roundup: Hurricane Harvey, and Right to Counsel for Eviction Defense

August 31, 2017 - 4:38 pm
  Like you, we’ve been unable to take our eyes off the harrowing images of inundation and suffering along the Texas Gulf Coast. We are working to get a jump on a part of the story we know is too often overlooked – the consequential legal problems that inevitably accompany such a disaster, and the ... Read more

How to talk with philanthropists about civil legal aid

August 16, 2017 - 6:02 pm
This summer two important new pieces of research yielded fresh guidance on how to communicate about civil legal aid in a way that builds lasting support. This posts focuses on how to communicate effectively with the philanthropic community.

New research finds voters overwhelmingly believe equal justice under law is a right, not a privilege

July 31, 2017 - 11:49 am
On July 19, at a national Communications & Media Training, Voices unveiled the results of new messaging research conducted by Celinda Lake and Anat Shenker-Osorio. The findings are good news for advocates looking to increase awareness of and support for civil legal aid.

Opportunities for media coverage about civil legal aid continue

July 10, 2017 - 1:42 pm
As civil justice advocates continue to face big challenges across the country, media coverage is more critical than ever to help spotlight the scope of the unmet legal needs of low income Americans and the role of civil legal aid in meeting that need.

Voices Training will feature Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus

July 5, 2017 - 11:55 am
Voices is pleased to announce that Washington Post Deputy Editorial Page Editor Ruth Marcus will be in conversation with Janice L. Kaplan at its 2017 Communications & Media Training on Wednesday, July 19.

Voices’ Staff Picks for Summer Reading

June 19, 2017 - 6:14 pm
Are you looking for summer reading recommendations? Here, from your friendly Voices team, are our picks – all with a communications theme of course! In this post, each member of the Voices team shares two books or other resources that during the past year have proven influential, useful, or both.