Media Coverage: It’s Easier than You Think

June 29, 2012

Letter to the Editor

Late last month, as Congress was debating a new transportation reauthorization bill, civil engineers at the local level were enlisted to spread the word on the important need for passage of the legislation.

Working with the government and media relations staff, volunteers in key states were identified and offered the opportunity to author letters to the editor of their local newspapers.

Surprisingly, letters by volunteers in Duluth, Pittsburgh, Detroit, New Orleans and Vancouver, Wa., were all published in their local newspapers in advance of the conference committee’s vote.

When it comes to issues such as roads, bridges, water, wastewater, energy and all aspects of our nation’s infrastructure, civil engineers are the experts and the profession should weigh in publicly. When it comes to local issues having to do with infrastructure, your expertise is even more important.

When local infrastructure matters arise, reporters are always looking for local subject matter experts. They will quote city, county and town officials because they are the ones who own the infrastructure. But they will seize your information because they see you as a third party expert.

This is an excellent opportunity for the profession and working with the media isn’t difficult. If an issue comes up that you feel strongly about and would like to make a comment, contact ASCE’s communication/media relations staff and talk about it. It might be an opportunity for a letter to the editor from you, or you can help ASCE staff reach out to the reporter/media outlet and offer an interview.

If you are hesitant or this idea piques your interest and you would like to talk about it, staff members can walk you through the process and guide you step-by-step. All you need to do is make a phone call or send an email; we will be more than happy to work with you to help get your expertise into the conversation.

Put your Civil Engineering education and experience to work for your neighbors and make a difference in your community.

Jim Jennings

Senior Manager, External Relations

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