Section 4: Department of Marketing and Communications
Heather Clark, Director
Alexa Drago, Manager
Kate Schuster, Communication Assistant
What we'd all like to see in the media are images of attorneys as problem-solvers and counselors, as defenders of the poor and injured, upholders of the right and righteous, giving and good, and totally necessary in the democratic scheme of things.
It doesn't always work out that way.
In the Communications Department, we try our best to keep a good relationship with members of the media, to suggest good stories, and to head off unfair or incorrect publicity. We were told many years ago by a firm that did a study on attitudes toward the legal system that we shouldn't try some "slick" campaign, but instead needed to emphasize a low-key, long-term policy of trustworthy information aimed at reporters and editors. We want to be the place reporters call when they need to talk to a lawyer and know that they'll be put in touch with a knowledgeable attorney who will call them back quickly and speak in plain language about the subject at hand.
We don't just wait for a call, however. When a topic becomes the focus of attention (lack of water, for instance), we call reporters and ask if we can put on a seminar for them, starring lawyers deeply experienced in that area. We e-mail reporters often, complimenting them on a story, adding a comment, or sometimes, offering a gentle correction.
We ask that you also hold reporters accountable for what they write. A study done in the wake of plagiarism and other ethical charges against two New York Times reporters showed that many people don't take the trouble to call or e-mail in corrections because they don't think reporters care. We think they do care. Please e-mail or call them when you see a mistake or believe that a story is unfair. Pass along a compliment even more quickly. Reporters are more careful when someone is watching. Please be that someone who watches.
SOME SPECIFIC PROJECTS:
LEGAL LINES is a column sent out twice a month to more than 100 Colorado newspapers. It's a general interest column that takes practical questions from readers and it runs in newspapers across the state. Readers get to see our name on something helpful. If you'd like to write an answer to a Legal Lines question, please contact Heather Clark, email@example.com.
MEMBER E-NEWSLETTER: D-Brief is an electronic newsletter e-mailed to more than 8,000 members every Tuesday. If you have a Denver event, send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEWS RELEASES are sent to statewide media outlets on officers, DBA and member awards, mock trial competitions, etc.
MEDIA VISITS/RELATIONS are coordinated by this office. If there is a legal issue that comes to light because of a high-profile case or other hot topic, we will set up meetings to help educate reporters. Reporters also call for experts on legal topics and we refer them to members who can provide background information or quotes for stories.
LAW SCHOOL FOR JOURNALISTS: The Colorado Bar Association and the Colorado Judicial Department have teamed up to create "Law School of Journalists," a serious of classes designed to provide reporters with basic information about the legal system and the judiciary. These free 1.5 hour sessions take place one morning a month at the CBA. Participants can attend in person or via conference call. Each session focuses on one primary area of the law that pertains to a current issue that the media benefits from learning about. Details are available online here. If you have a topic of interest or would like to be considered as a panelist, contact Heather Clark, email@example.com or (303) 824-5347.
THE DOCKET: This is your DBA newsletter, mailed to all DBA members, as well as some interested members of the public and media. We want The Docket to be relevant to your practice and to your life. Let us know what you want to read about. Send us your news, photos and events to publish in the Legal Affairs, FYI or Picture This. Submit an article you wrote, or write a letter to the editor. Or, join the committee. Contact us: Email firstname.lastname@example.org for story ideas and email email@example.com for Legal Affairs.
BAR NEWS: The Communications Department writes a monthly column in The Colorado Lawyer, reporting on what various local and specialty bar associations are doing. If you've got a great project, let others know through this column. We also like to do short profiles on outstanding members. Contact Heather Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome your suggestions, comments or criticism about what we do. Our efforts are aimed at helping the legal community and if you can think of other ways for us to do that, we invite you to call us.