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Why do 'outsider groups' seek to influence or manage media coverage? How important is media coverage to such groups?

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Introduction

Sammy Jain- 010708192 MS3003 Essay Why do 'outsider groups' seek to influence or manage media coverage? How important is media coverage to such groups? Pressure groups in the last few years have become more widespread and important in influencing decisions on government legislation and government policy. 'A pressure group is an organization which seeks as one of its functions to influence and formulate the implementation of public policy, public policy representing a set of authoritative decisions taken by the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary, and by the local government and the European union.' (Grant, 2000:pg 14). Explaining and understanding the typologies will give a firm grounding on what environment and associations different pressure groups work in. There are literally thousands of groups that can be defined as pressure groups, and categorizing and placing these groups in an exact manner is an almost impossible task. But people have tried to come up with different classifications, which on a very general basis can place groups into various sections. One of the more familiar distinctions is between sectional and cause groups. Wyn Grant termed sectional groups as 'representing a section of the community. Their function is to look after more common interests of that section and their membership is normally restricted to that section.' These groups are often associated with a particular section of society, cordoning off any person or persons, that don't have association or affiliation with that particular section. They tend to aim to get as many eligible members of that section as possible (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/pressure_groups.htm, August 2002). ...read more.

Middle

'The pressure group succceded in drawing the attention of the media and the public to an issue which had hitherto commanded very little media and public interest.' (Hansen: p57). Solesbury's first task in successful claims making, is that of commanding attention. Greenpeace were therefore successful, because they were able to present the situation in a stunning manner, but showing visually the incident and disseminanating selective information to the public. Their successful claims making was based on presenting some some sort of scientific discourse, in gaining support to stop Shell from dumping the redundant oil installsations. Eyerman and Jamieson noted strategic gathering and dissemination of information was vital their whole claims making ability as 'Without strategic information, its campaigns would be merely media shows and they would long ago have stopped making news. It is the gathering of campaign related facts, the selective dissemination of arguemtns to the media and other public fora, the selecetive testimony at hearings and conferences and international meetings that gives Greepeace its enormous influence' So we now turn our attentions to the role and importance of the media for outsider groups in successfully disseminating their campaign and policy strategies to the public, what outsider groups need from the media to ensure their success, and very importantly, their survival. The role of the media and media coverage is without a doubt of key importance to outsider groups. They depend on media coverage for two things in particular: that is for recruiting new members, and promoting their ideas and causes. ...read more.

Conclusion

In this way, tv journalists are feeling they are being manipulated by pressure groups, and it may eventually destroy them. So, adjudging from the evidence, its seems that outsider groups do seek to influence and managae media so as to communicate their strategies and policies in an effective manner., Just by the very defintion of thw word 'outsider,' these groups can not exert political pressure directly, because they have little involvment with government organisations that can help them to implement decisions. They are not part of the decision making process, so the media is prehaps their only form of aid in exerting influence on such a scale, that government will have to relent, and allow for a change or at least a rethink to legislation. We have seen several ways in which outsider groups attempt to influence decision making, and how they have attempted to influence the media, using various strategies. Most notably, under the six fomrs that Grant (2000) stated. Visibility- By producing strking images, and framing the even in such a way, that people take action, as a source of Information- to alert them to what other frims and industries are doing, climate- in terms of sustaining a favuorable climate to which they can continue to pursue their claims in an active manner, reactive response- using th media to establish and explain reasons for conducting the way they go about setting communication strategies, exerting influence through media so as to change policies, and influenceing media content. So Media coverage is most vital in helping to promote their campaign, as its provides a legitimate platform to which they can demonstrate their actions and justify why they do certain things. ...read more.

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