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.
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