Media School


The first Dialogue Society Media School took place in early 2011. Further Media Schools will be displayed on the home page in the ‘forthcoming’ section and advertised via Dialogue Society mailing lists.


Today's world, with its many forms of media, presents a huge range of opportunities for individuals and organisations to convey their message to the public. It also presents significant challenges. Among these are the possibility of misleading media coverage and the need to express an organisation's aims and projects in the succinct and memorable forms demanded by the fast pace of the media world.

As a result, small to medium sized organisations and others looking to engage with the media often face the following questions:

  • How can I get my message across?
  • What practical steps can I take to ensure that I am not misunderstood or misrepresented?
  • Why do the media always focus on bad news?
  • Do I have any rights over the media?
  • How do I write an effective press release, or create a successful blog?
  • How do I prepare for a media interview?
  • How can I use the media to raise the profile of my organisation?

The Dialogue Society's Media School seeks to help answer some of these questions through a series of engaging, interactive sessions led by media professionals.


The Dialogue Society's Media School aims to empower young people and representatives of small and medium sized charities and community groups to:

  • Understand how media works, exploring its relationship with society and politics and how it engages with charities and community groups.
  • Explain the key aims and the work of their organisation clearly and succinctly.
  • Deal effectively with media attention.
  • Raise the profile of their organisation by successful engagement with journalists.
  • Communicate appropriately and effectively in a range of media, from press releases to live interviews to blogs.
  • Employ internet communication, including social media, to propagate their message and raise their profile.

Target Audience

  • Small to medium organisations (charities and community groups)
  • Young people
  • Community leaders
  • Religious leaders
  • Public Relations Officers
  • Students and others interested in practical media engagement


The Media School will operate through a series of 10 interactive sessions. The sessions will include explorations of how the media works and of the perspectives of media professionals. It will have a practical outlook, focusing on equipping participants with the necessary skills and knowledge for successful media engagement. Accordingly, the majority of the sessions will provide know-how and practice in various techniques for media engagement, from writing press releases to giving broadcast interviews.

Session leaders will be professionals engaged in media in a variety of capacities and consequently able to give valuable insights into media. Participants will be able to enter into discussion with speakers during the session and over refreshments afterwards.


The sessions will be held in the evening, during weekdays and are expected to attract an audience of between 20 and 50 participants.

The sessions have a practical outlook and will be interactive. They last for 1hr 30 minutes in total. According to the particular topic, the structure will be either:

  • An initial presentation, followed by Q and A
  • Workshop format, with a focus on practising skills, receiving feedback and discussing approaches and techniques

The Topics

1. Understanding the media in society
With Maria Way, Senior Lecturer in Media Theory, University of Westminster

2. The media and religion
With Maria Way, Senior Lecturer in Media Theory, University of Westminster

3. Citizen Journalism
With Jonathan Fryer, Writer, Broadcaster, Lecturer and Politician

4. Being a Media Spokesman: Issuing Statements and Handling Press Enquiries
With Revd John Carter MA, Press Officer for the Church of England

5. A journalist’s Perspective
With Nigel Dudley, Economics and Politics Journalist and Editor of Quantum

6. Writing Press Releases
With Neil Barnett, Previously a Journalist with the Telegraph and the Spectator

7. Broadcast Interview Skills
With Julia Rooke, Freelance Radio and TV Journalist

8. Understanding and Using new Media
With Will Straw, Editor, Left Foot Forward

9. Attracting Media Coverage
With Mayah Riaz, Director of Mayah Consultancy

10. Producing podcasts