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 Report - The National Community Development Conference: Summary of The Media Campaign (MC)

 Report date: 31.10.2002

The National Community Development Conference
Summary of The Media Campaign

The NCDC media campaign was designed to raise public and media awareness on community development and achieve their support and sympathy. Numerous staff of the Steering Committee member organizations put efforts to make the campaign success with their suggestions, active support and activities. The campaign was organized to consist of three phases: Media Workshop, Special 30-minute TV Program on community development and Media Participation and Coverage during the Conference. In general, analysis of observed 25 press and 9 audio-visual highlights indicate the gained media support and raised awareness for community development in Azerbaijan.

Media Workshop
Media workshop took place 9th of September 2002, one month earlier than the conference. It pursued mainly the objective to educate and prepare media for the conference. The workshop introduced 16 media reps get to community development activities, approaches and history in Azerbaijan through presentations of USAID, Mercy Corps, UNDP, and Exxon Azerbaijan Operating Company LLC (Exxon Azerbaijan), an ExxonMobil subsidiary. There were 14 observed positive and comprehensive media coverage on community development activities and the NCDC on news agencies, newspapers and a radio following the workshop. It has proved to be extremely useful method for raising media and subsequently public awareness on community development activities.
The workshop led to the media coverage in the following major news agencies, newspapers and a radio:

  • Turan news agency
  • Sharq news agency
  • Olaylar news agency
  • Azerpress news agency
  • "Ayna" newspaper
  • "Bizim Asr" newspaper
  • "525-ci gazet" newspaper
  • "Yeni Musavat" newspaper
  • "Azadlyg" newspaper
  • "Khalg" newspaper
  • "Yeni Azerbaijan" newspaper
  • "Novoe Vremya" newspaper
  • "Zerkalo" newspaper
  • Voice of America

Internews TV Prorgam
Another part of the media campaign for the NCDC was a 30-minute educational and quality TV program prepared by Internews with support of the NCDC Steering Committee, Mercy Corps and numerous INGOs. The TV program included interviews with the Ross Wilson - US Ambassador in Azerbaijan, Ali Hasanov - Deputy Prime Minister, William McKinney - USAID Coordinator in Azerbaijan, William Holbrook - MC Chief of Party, Lutful Kabir - UNDP Senior Technical Advisor, and Leyla Rzakuliyeva - Government and Public Affairs Manager of Exxon Azerbaijan. Video shots of 7 community development projects of SCF, IMC, IRC, WVI, CHF, Oxfam, USAID, Exxon Azerbaijan, and Relief International in Southern, Urban and Central areas of the country, made it more field and action oriented program. The program was broadcasted on ANS - nationwide TV channel - on 29th of September 2002 and on six regional TV channels following the first release. Later on the film was translated into English and in itself represents an outstanding audio-visual resource material on community development in Azerbaijan.

The Conference
The last phase of the media campaign for the NCDC was providing participation for the media so that they highlight the conference and community development activities. Since major donors of the conference requested to squeeze the number of invited media people, the priority was given to audio - visual media and only 17 media was participated. In this phase the conference and community development activities were highlighted in 4 TV news programs, and 5 radio programs. They included TV and radio programs of companies such as Space, Lider, STV, Internews Azerbaijan Subsidiary, BBC, Liberty Radio, and VOA. Press highlights of the conference and community development were observed in 10 major news agencies and newspapers. They were BBC monitoring bulletin, Turan News Agency, Media Press Agency, Newspaper of "Yeni Musavat", Newspaper of "Bizim Asr", Newspaper of "Echo", Newspaper of "525-ci gazet", Newspaper of "Azadlyg", Newspaper of "Ayna", Caspian Business News and Bakusun. The feedback of all journalists for the Conference organization was very positive. For example, when asked about her impression and suggestions, the BBC radio journalist mentioned the professional preparation of the conference and said: "It allowed me to see organizations, which didn't give away bread, but taught the ways to obtain bread." Another journalist Valentina Huber, the Bakusun editor, in her turn said she learned a great deal about the community development in Azerbaijan and would use the obtained information excessively in future articles, mentioning her planned visit to the community event in Fizuli.

Conclusion and Recommendations
As a result of the media campaign for the NCDC, community development activities, its stakeholders in Azerbaijan, and the conference received over observed 25 positive, accurate, quality and comprehensive press coverage in major news agencies, newspapers and over 9 audio-visual highlights in TV and radio programs, in addition to quality 30-minute video film on community development.

The media campaign has also resulted in capacity building of significant number of journalists on community development, from wide range of press and TV and radio companies. From analysis of overall media coverage, it can be concluded that stakeholders have also gained well-informed cadre of journalist friends, who may participate in advocacy and quality and accurate media services for community development activities in Azerbaijan.

In order to ensure continued interest and attention of media to community development activities in Azerbaijan, stakeholders should continue sending out regular messages and keeping in touch with journalists. In this regard media tours to the field and informal meetings with journalists would be very useful. In addition the list of these media people should be disseminated among the NCDC organizers, to make certain positive and quality media highlights on community development in future.

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