Anyone with a background in seeking sanctuary and who wishes to engage with the media is invited to register with us as a Sanctuary Ambassador. We provide support and training so that you can represent your group, speak to the media, join Sanctuary Award appraisal groups at national level or contribute to making videos to promote our vision of a positive culture of welcome to all. This is in line with our principles of celebrating the contribution of people seeking sanctuary, and engaging them in decision making.
See our resource pages for Sanctuary Ambassadors for more information.
Download the leaflet Guide to Communications for City of Sanctuary groups.
Please also see our Guide to Use of Language document which underpins our Communications work.
How to use the power of narratives to build support for refugee protection This is an excellent well researched guide from Imix on encouraging support for refugees from a wider population base. Imix work with partners across the refugee and migration sector to put the case for an open and welcoming Britain in a way that has greater impact.
Freedom from Torture Messaging Guide: Changing the Conversation on Asylum
Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is intended for guidance only. It is not a substitute for professional advice and we cannot accept any responsibility for loss occasioned as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting upon it.
Groups are often asked to take part in interviews, particularly for radio or newspapers. This can be a good opportunity to reach wider audiences but does present challenges and thorough preparation is essential. Some tips:
- Find out what specific topics will be covered in the interview and if its possible for you to see the questions beforehand
- Decide your key messages and bring them with you written down – there are some examples here or for key statements about City of Sanctuary, see our ‘About’ section
- Have some relevant facts and statistics available
- Read our factsheet below on ‘Preparing for an interview’
MediaWise have some useful resources on dealing with the media, including advice around the risks of ‘selling your story’ to the media.
New Guide from On Road: “Better Stories: How to support people with first-hand experience to do great media interviews”. Drawing on 10+ years of experience, this practical, friendly guide includes how to feel good and ready for media work, pitching and payment tips, and how to frame issues during the Covid-19 crisis.
Positive Media Coverage
Getting positive stories covered by newspapers, radio or TV is a great way to counter-balance negative media coverage but it can be challenging to make your story attractive to outlets. Here are some suggestions:
- Build connections with local journalists
- To get a piece in a newspaper, on TV or on the radio, you story needs to be ‘newsworthy’ – relevant, timely, significant or interesting to the audience (see resources below from the Media Trust)
This infographic from the BBC includes tips on getting your story selected that could also be applied elsewhere.
Some examples of positive media coverage:
- ‘City of Sanctuary: Bristol rallies to help refugees as aid network swells’ in the Guardian
- ‘Leeds families donate 100,000 items for Syrian refugee aid convoy’ in the Yorkshire Evening Post
Challenging Misinformation in the Media
If you see inaccurate, misleading or discriminatory content in the media, you can make a complaint.
- For a newspaper or magazine, write to the Editor. If they take more than a week to respond or you are not happy with their response, you can complain to the IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation) – see links section below
- For television or radio, contact the broadcaster or Ofcom – see links section below
Be sure to include the details of the specific piece you are complaining about.
The Light On project has produced ‘Spot Racism Online: A Practical Guide’ which provides some definitions of hate speech, explains what is legal and what isn’t and provides information about how to report hate speech.
Get the Trolls Out – resources for combatting hate speech on social media
The use of the term “illegal immigrant” in press reports is contributing to negative and xenophobic attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers and we recommend this blog which provides clear reasoning to support complainants to write letters to their local press who continue to use this phrase. The author has successfully campaigned against the use of this term with his local press who have now resolved not to use it.
IMiX Media toolkits
IMiX have produced media and communications toolkits to help organisations better understand how to get across your message via the media and digital channels. The media toolkit looks at general principles for working with the media, how to draft press releases, secure interviews and prepare as a spokesperson. There is also a toolkit on creating messages and stories looking at the principles of story-telling, how to persuade people, get good stories and case studies.
‘Writing a press release’ from the Media Trust
‘Get coverage in local and regional media’ from the Media Trust
IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisations) – See particularly this section on ‘Making a Complaint’
Social media is an easy way to get new supporters and to keep your supporters up-to-date with what you’re up to.
Contact us via [email protected] for help embedding your social media accounts on your group’s website.
See also Notes, PPT Slides and video recording of our Social Media workshop with the Digital Communications Manager from Imix – the expert media and comms organisation which supports the migrant and refugee sector.
- Good for organising and publicising events
- Good for sharing content from other organisations
- It is recommended that you post no more than 4 times a week or your posts will appear less frequently in your followers’ timelines
- Good for quick updates eg. to say you’re at an event
- Good for addressing specific individuals or organisations
‘Raising your profile on social media’ from the Media Trust
Get the Trolls Out – resources for combatting hate speech on social media
’10 ways to improve your charity’s Facebook page’ from JustGiving
Keeping in touch with your supporters is likely to be an important element of your group’s activities. Sending out a regular newsletter is one way of keeping in touch. How to make your newsletter successful:
- Make it regular – once a month is a good bench-mark
- Use a catchy subject line
- Think about format – headings, columns and text boxes will help break up content
- Pictures will help make your newsletter eye catching and will break up text (make sure you have permission to use the pictures!)
- Make it interesting – what can you offer your supporters that they’ll find interesting or useful?
We use MailChimp to manage our mailing lists and send out our monthly newsletter. It is free up to 2000 subscribers.
The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will be introduced in May 2018. All newsletters and mailing lists will need to be compliant. Visit our Policies and Procedures page for information about the GDPR and how to ensure your group is compliant.
‘How to produce a newsletter’ from NCVO
Refugee Media Centre is ‘a digital network of refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless and undocumented people who have volunteered to represent displaced voices in the news’.
iMiX works closely with organisations across the refugee and migration sector to train, support and build communications capacity.
The Refugee Journalism Project supports refugee and exiled journalists to re-start their careers in the UK.