Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Non-Profits and Media Outlets

Non-profit organizations are forever strategizing how best to get their message before the public and media companies are always assessing the role they are able to play in supporting the communities they serve.

What do the two have in common? They both are trying to figure out how to serve their clients, and fine tune doing that successfully. The motivation may be different but the goals are, in broad strokes, the same. Lately, this common denominator has been on my mind.

Each year, Cable Positive hosts an awards ceremony that honors, in thirteen categories, those networks that provide outstanding HIV-related programming in the cable industry entitled The Positively Outstanding Programming (POP) Awards.

Through the Tony Cox Community Fund, Cable Positive provides grants to local AIDS Service Organizations who partner with their local cable system to use media as an advocacy and outreach tool.

There is no question that HIV/AIDS is still an epidemic. There is no question that media can play a role in helping to change the attitudes and behaviors of consumers. There is a question, at least in my mind, as to why media isn’t being used more, and more effectively, to address the issue of HIV/AIDS.

Although I see some exceptional examples, I am not seeing nearly as many as I would like to or think I could be seeing. I know that there are many reasons for this and it isn’t my intent to minimize the challenges that exist for both the non-profits and entertainment industry.

It would be my wish, as long as HIV and AIDS exist, that I have an office full of POP Award entries and media advocacy is second nature to all non-profits--regardless of size.

I may have a way to go before I get my wish but that is one of the most exciting elements of being part of the Cable Positive team—the belief that media can and is absolutely a force of change in this epidemic.

It is a fundamental core belief of mine that anyone can make a difference if they have the drive and opportunity. It is exciting to be part of an organization, and an industry, that not only encourages that drive but pushes you to continue to create those opportunities; opportunities that encourages and cultivates that drive in others.

Cable Positive’s Youth AIDS Media Institute is a perfect example of that but you will have to wait for my next entry to hear more on that.

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