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Messaging Child Health Care Issues Phil Sparks Communications Consortium Media Center January 24, 2007

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Presentation on theme: "Messaging Child Health Care Issues Phil Sparks Communications Consortium Media Center January 24, 2007"— Presentation transcript:

1 Messaging Child Health Care Issues Phil Sparks Communications Consortium Media Center January 24, 2007

2 2 Primary Values Groups (Developed by Belden Russonello & Stewart) Responsibility to care for ones family Related values: Financial obligation to care for family; obligation to care for emotional well being of family; obligation to educate, guide and discipline children; and obligation to care for the physical health and safety of ones children. Responsibility to care for oneself Related values: Self-reliance; financial security; taking responsibility for ones actions; and self-discipline. Personal liberty Related values: Freedom of expression; individuality; independence; freedom from obligations; reproductive freedom; and sexual freedom. Work Related values: Working hard is good and everyone should work. Belief in God Honesty/Integrity Fairness/Equality Related values: Justice; Golden Rule; equal opportunity; tolerance; and respect for others.

3 3 Secondary Values Groups (Developed by Belden Russonello & Stewart) Responsibility to care for others Related values: Care for less fortunate; leave the world a better place for others; care for other species; and care for the earth. Personal fulfillment Related values: Ego-centered: being creative; materialism; learning; and aesthetic enjoyment. Relationship-centered: friendship; having emotionally supportive relationships; being married; and having children. Respect for authority Related values: Obedience to law; respect for institutions; and respect for order. Love of country or culture Related values: National pride; loyalty to country; and cultural pride.


5 5 Levels of Thinking Level One: Big ideas: justice, family, democracy, rights, responsibilities, equality, opportunity, core values Level Two: Issue-types & movements: like womens/civil rights, economic justice, the environment, voter mobilization, childrens advocates Level Three: Specific policy proposals: Estate/death tax, family and medical leave, tax reform, early education, minimum wage, paid sick leave Source: George Lakoff for the Frameworks Institute

6 6 Open the Right Door Advocates too often operate at level three But the public is usually up at level one Can we open the conversation at level one? What frame or door should we open to get the conversation started down a path that produces support for our policieseven in the face of opposition? Prime the conversation with the right level focusing on one or two ideas

7 7 Four Key Message Points Overview of Issue in Big Picture/Values Language Summary of Specific Program Why Action is Needed Action Steps for Your Audience Message Points

8 8 Example of a winning frame incorporating values Minimum Wage: Part of the American Dream is that if you work hard and play by the rules you ought to be able to support yourself and your family. Its just not fair that the federal minimum wage has not been raised by Congress from its present $5.15 an hour in ten years. Meanwhile, Congress has raised its own salary seven times in the last decade. You cant even buy a quart of milk and a gallon of gasoline for $5.15 an hour. Its not right!

9 9 Competing Values In regards to low-wage work issues like health care -- we are talking about children of low-wage workers receiving health care first. Challenges because of certain values people hold regarding these issues: each individual is responsible for his or her own success or failure with hard work comes reward the goal is equal opportunity, not equal outcomes anyone can achieve the American Dream

10 10 The Power of Stories Storytelling is both an art and a science. Stories reflect – and evoke – core values and widely held beliefs. Storytelling has become the norm for most mass media. Reporters say: I need to put a face on my story.

11 11 Storytelling, A Blessing and a Curse Many stories about low-wage work issues, including childrens health care, focus on the plight of an individual child or the family of a young child. The Challenge: Move the story from an article/TV or radio program about the individual to an article/TV or radio program about the systemic problem suggested by the individual story. Shift the frame of the story from the child/family to focus on systemic problems that cause children not to have health insurance.

12 12 So, how do I proceed? start the discussion with a focus on values, not specific policies focus on the system, not the individual stress that health care decisions are not a force of nature made by accident. On the contrary, health care adjustments are very intentional and, when you use stories, focus on compelling stories that illustrate systemic problems and their solutions

13 13 A Final Point involve key groups and individuals to achieve investment in the frame/message encourage feedback and comments make message dissemination a bottom up, rather than a top down process understand that there will be some pushback when you suggest that the message lead with a values statement

14 14 Starting The Message Process on Childrens Health All children should have the tools to grow and flourish (value). The problem is that millions of children do not have access to adequate healthcare (the problem). We need to provide all children with adequate health care so they can grow and flourish( the solution). Therefore, we are urging the policymakers to…. (the action).

15 15 Message development and framing Strong written materials in one page, ten pages, papers and books Reporter-friendly Web sites Local mainstream and new media Editorial and op-ed strategies Visuals and good television stories pitched to producers on a regular basis Radio strategy (AM and FM) Cultivate a reporter corps (with connections) Made-for-cable events and forums Critical Elements for Media Outreach

16 16 Tools of the Trade One-on-one relationships Press briefings and informal sessions Press conferences Press kits and written materials Editorial board meetings Op-ed pieces


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