Daniel Kessler, media officer at Greenpeace, recently answered some questions about Greenpeace’s media strategy via e-mail.
Target Green: As green issues become more mainstream, has Greenpeace seen an influx in media interest? How have you handled this?
Daniel Kessler: There is no doubt that green is in, which has increased interest in Greenpeace’s campaigns. The challenge now is to maintain the public’s interest in environmental issues, which is necessary to create real sustainable change. Without broad public support, it’s almost impossible to get decision-makers to do the right thing.
Target Green: What are the communications opportunities and challenges for Greenpeace now that more Americans are interested in climate change and other environmental issues?
Kessler: The challenge is to differentiate Greenpeace from other environmental groups. We stand out from others by emphasizing our principled positions on the most important issues facing the world and by being action-orientated. The opportunities during this period of heightened awareness include growing our organization and the movement.
Target Green: Do you think the eco-movement has a bad reputation in America? Is this something that Greenpeace addresses?
Kessler: No, our membership is up and the interest from the news media is also on the rise. People are learning that it’s environmental groups that are looking out for them and the planet- not the politicians or the corporations, broadly speaking.
Target Green: What are your thoughts about the way the media is handling green issues, especially in light of this being an election year?
Kessler: The media has done a poor job of covering environmental issues, which is partly why we’ve reached this precarious place so quickly. A good example is the coverage of global warming during the recent political conventions. A cursory examination shows that reporters are not asking the politicians what their plan is for the biggest environmental problem we’ve ever faced. The media must ask the hard questions, and if they don’t they’ve failed in the jobs. Such negligence is inexcusable.
Target Green: What is the primary message you try to convey about Greenpeace and its initiatives when working with the media?
Kessler: Greenpeace tries to show that we are a principled campaigning organization dedicated to achieving results. We work around the world and in your community to make sure that politicians and corporations are taking the right steps to make a a cleaner, greener world.