Agency & Newspaper Collaboration
How Agencies and Media Can Work Together
Lucas Day, MSW Student and MCAH Intern
As homeless service providers nationwide attempt to reduce stigma against their clients and spread the word about resources available, agencies in Lenawee County are using a local newspaper to reach their community.
For more than a decade, The Daily Telegram in Adrian has been publishing a monthly article provided by a Lenawee Continuum of Care (CoC) member that is centered around housing or homelessness.
The CoC hosts a sign up list where agencies can schedule a month to have an article published. Articles can be about services agencies are offering, raise awareness about homelessness in the community or be something more unique, CoC Chair Elizabeth Salerno explained.
“It can’t just be a hopeless plug for your agency to raise money,” she said. “It’s got to be about something that’s pertinent to the community.”
Some articles shared perspectives of clients CoC members worked with. Adding a personal element to the stories can have a profound impact on members of the tight knit community. Some readers weren’t even aware that homeless people lived in the county and the stories can be enlightening for them, Salerno said.
The Daily Telegram doesn’t charge Lenawee CoC to run the stories and Salerno said decision makers for the newspaper were eager to forge the partnership when presented with the idea.
“I think [the partnership] was an in for them where they saw this as mutually beneficial,” she said.
In addition to the monthly articles CoC members write, the collaboration has brought issues to the attention of newspaper staff that otherwise may have gone undiscovered. This has led to journalists investigating topics surrounding homelessness further to write longer articles and even front page stories.