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Instructions for information contact persons

Tips for AA outreach

In order for journalists to find suitable contacts in our membership, media contacts will also be directed to information contact persons in AA regions if necessary. So that opportunities to get positive publicity for AA are not wasted, it would be good for the information coordinators of the AA regions to prepare for cooperation with the media by considering, among other things, the following points:

1) It would be good to know in advance to which members of the AA region contact requests from suppliers can be directed. From the point of view of the public, it is not desirable if a person who is not prepared for such a situation or does not want to comment on his own sobriety is unexpectedly interviewed. Therefore, it would be good to create a light network in the area in advance, which will help find interviewees if necessary.

2) Speed ​​is a trump card in media relations. The work pace of the media is sometimes very intense. When a journalist contacts you, the attitude of the region or groups to the subject can usually no longer be considered separately. It doesn't give a good image to the outside to tell that AA is a loose community where there is no hierarchy, if in the same breath you are told that you can't act because no decision has been made on the matter. A flexible attitude brings better publicity than a fearful and reserved attitude.

3) There is no reason to change the editors' views by force. It's also not worth trying to feed them a finished picture of AA. On the other hand, the vast majority of editors of issue publications understand the human nature of our activities. The angularity of personalities, different opinions and differences in the interpretation of views are not as big a deal to outsiders as what we in the AA circle often think ourselves. If an annoying question comes up, honesty moves the matter forward better than detours or explanations. Journalists are used to dealing with politicians, for example. So they are often downright charmed by genuine honesty. When the strict principle of anonymity is combined, even a seasoned journalist might be genuinely interested in the AA idea.

4) It is part of good journalistic manners that the interviewee has the right to see the story before it is published. He also has the right to comment on the story. However, this does not mean that the story can be modified to suit the grief. Spelling or other language issues should not be interfered with, because often an unfinished working version is sent for comment. The factual errors should of course be corrected, but the journalist's opinions - also perhaps unpleasant for AA members - are nonetheless the journalist's opinions, to which he is entitled. Actually, the only things where you can be a little more squeamish if necessary are violations of anonymity and gross factual errors. When possibly reviewing the matter, it is good to remember that time is usually short. Late comments cannot necessarily be taken into account in the editorial process, even if there is still time to publish the story.

5) There can be many reasons for the promised story not appearing in the magazine or appearing on the radio. There is not necessarily something wrong with the story as such, but for example something more important to the general public has slipped past the AA story. However, from a journalistic point of view, our issue is timeless, but the news is not. That's why it's not worth yelling at the editor or wondering when the story will come out. It will come out when it is about to come. Sometimes it also happens that the story doesn't appear at all. There are usually no personal or principled reasons for such cases. For statistical reasons, some of the stories are already "in the back" - they just never appear. The journalist who did the story often has little influence on this.

Otherwise, the same applies to dealing with journalists as it does to people in general. Authenticity and honesty are sensed, hunchbacked reserve arouses a backlash. Simply put: "The forest answers as it calls out". After all, most of the journalists are decent people who still have a heart - some even in the right place. Alcoholism is a disease that is familiar to many people from close circles, so factual and genuine interest is guaranteed in these aspects as well. Gossip magazines are a separate chapter. Our press release is not even sent to those offices.

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