WonkComms Breakfast Club: Tackling a taboo

Fri 8 June 2018, 08:30 – 10:30

Soapbox Communications, 126 Back Church Lane, London, E1 1FH


Comms can be a tricky discipline at the best of times. But what if the policy area you cover is one that the media considers left-field? How do you run a campaign if your audiences are put off by the content? How can you win over people’s minds if their hearts don’t follow?

There are plenty of topics that were once considered beyond the pale and are now more mainstream, even if they still have a long way to go: gender equality, abortion, international development funding, climate science, children’s rights have all leapt forward in recent decades.

But being mainstream isn’t the same as gaining fair media coverage. Every day, stories about welfare, prisons, disability, LGBT rights and other areas of discrimination are misrepresented, confused or cause controversy.

At this WonkComms Breakfast Club we will hear from Robert Preece, the Campaigns and Communications Manager at the Howard League for Penal Reform who will talk about how they approach their three policy areas of “less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison”.

We will then open the discuss out to those around the table to consider the following questions

  • How can you best engage journalists on topics that they believe their readers and editors are not interested in or have preconceived ideas about?
  • What are other policymakers – including government, campaigning groups and civil servants – looking for? How can you make your best case to them?
  • What are the best tactics for talking about tricky subjects? Do you go in hard with a clear line of radical argument or do you take the more pragmatic route? Is it better to provide facts or make a case?

Coffee, croissants and comms. What could be a better way to start your day in #wonkcomms? WonkComms have teamed up with Soapbox to offer the UK WonkComms community a regular opportunity to get together and discuss some of the big challenges of delivering communications in think tanks and research organisations.

Posted in breakfast club, Events

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