Hamilton Media Guild members join Hamilton Media Advisory Council

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Alyssa Lai and Sherry Mousavi of Hamilton Media Guild (Photo by: Sherry Mousavi)

Hamilton Media Guild members Alyssa Lai and Sherry Mousavi have been picked to join the Hamilton Media Advisory Council (HMAC).

“It’s a privilege to have been chosen to join a committee with such high calibre members,” says Hamilton Media Guild chair, Mousavi.

“This group is important for the community as it strengthens the dialogue between the diverse community and the media.”

The Hamilton Media Advisory Council was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in New York to give feedback on diversity to Hamilton’s major media outlets. The committee engages in dialogue that would enhance understanding and sensitivity in promoting daily news coverage by increasing sustained-news coverage of under-represented communities, as well as race and immigration related coverage.

The committee is compromised of 12 community and six media representatives including the Hamilton Community News, the Hamilton Spectator, Cable 14, CHCH, CHML, and the CBC. This committee represents a broad spectrum of community leaders and advocates who share a long-term goal of a more inclusive community, using an anti-racism perspective in all of their processes.

HMAC sought new members this year with the desired attributes including: a strong community service orientation and respect for the community represented; a commitment to anti-racism; equality and justice; innovative and strong leadership skills; an ability to commit to a two-year term.

Lai and Mousavi are among seven new members to join the council. HMAC received 33 applications and interviewed 13 people.

HMAC meets the third Thursday of every month to review stories being told by Hamilton’s major media outlets. The group reads content for balance and whether a diverse range of groups and stories are being represented in news coverage.

From race and gender, to age and culture, the group takes these things into consideration when giving feedback to the media.

HMAC holds an annual public story meeting where groups and organizations can make story pitches directly to senior members of the local media.

Rick Hughes of CBC Hamilton will moderate the next meeting on Thursday, May 22 at The Hamilton Spectator’s auditorium at 7 p.m.

The 20 slots available to pitch a story are full but HMAC encourages the public to come and hear the pitches.

5 tips from HMAC on pitching your best story

After reviewing the HMAC and local Hamilton media guidelines press kit, the Hamilton Media Guild has compiled a list of some of their tips to help you pitch your story.

  1. Be Concise: Keep your pitches and press releases short and to the point. Most media professionals prefer your press release to be one page. It is also best to use plain language and avoid technical terms.
  2. Include the Who, What, When, Where, Why: Provide your media contact at the top of your pitch or press release.
  3. Send events three weeks in advance: When hosting an event, workshop, or fundraiser, send the invitation to media contacts at least three weeks in advance so it can be scheduled into their busy calendar.
  4. Community: Your story must have a hook that has to do with this community. Make sure your pitch has a human element and provide a strong reason to pick up your story.
  5. Send to the right person: Do your research on who to send it to. Each reporter or editor has a special area of interest so make sure your story aligns with their interest.

About HMAC

The Media Advisory Council is the successor to the Media Strategy Team of the Strengthening Hamilton Community Initiative. SHCI was born in the days following terrorist attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. At the time Hamilton residents witnessed an upsurge in hate-related crimes and incidents. The Media Strategy Team was one of several teams struck by SHCI to battle racism in Hamilton. One of the team’s key recommendations was the formation of a permanent advisory council to serve as a conduit between Hamilton’s mainstream media and the city’s diverse communities; the Hamilton Media Advisory Council is that body. HMAC is a volunteer organization with no formal charter or structure. SHCI was renamed the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion in 2006. HMAC holds one story meeting a year.

Who will be represented at the story meeting?

Representatives from CHCH, AM900 CHML, The Hamilton Spectator, Hamilton Community News, Cable 14, 93.3 CFMU, and CBC Hamilton will hear story pitches.

What’s Next?

The story meeting will take place on Thursday, May 22 at 7 p.m. at the Hamilton Spectator Auditorium. Each person will have five minutes to present their idea. Pre-registration is required. Email hamiltonmediaadvisorycouncil@gmail.com. The Hamilton Media Guild will be present to collect the outcome.

Visit the Hamilton Media Advisory Council on Facebook.

Margaret Lintott

Margaret is a communications professional with a Honours Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Cultural Studies and a post-graduate in Public Relations. She is passionate about Hamilton, her hometown.

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