Media Relations Training for Treatment Court Graduates

By on Monday, February 24, 2020

Sometimes the most effective voices for an organization, are the people who have had their lives changed by it. If they’ve been through a lot and want to help the organization, they still need to consider carefully the impact that news coverage can have on their lives and careers.

This is certainly true for treatment court graduates – who overcame addiction but also experienced life at its absolute low. Helping treatment court graduates think through how to share their stories in the public eye – whether that be for a speech at the Rotary Club luncheon, to talking with a television news reporter – was the focus of a series of training Ami Neiberger-Miller did with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP).

Training was typically two days, with time spent talking about how the media work, concerns to think about (what will happen if I share something in the press or with the public that perhaps my family or employer don’t know), and how to talk about your experiences when living with addiction.

It was also important to talk with the participants about thinking through how they share their stories of recovery. Because group sharing is common in the recovery community, it can be easy to “share your story” the same way with a news reporter. But it’s important to recognize that what you share in a support group, may not be appropriate for a media interview or effective. For one thing, a typical recovery story is often much longer than what is needed for a news interview or a speech. You don’t want to spend all your time talking about life in addiction, when the whole point is you want to share how you left addiction.

Participants worked individually on putting together their personal stories, using an outline, and then shared them with the entire group. Several were also interviewed for video stories that were posted on the organization’s social media. As a result of the training, the organization developed a speaker’s bureau of graduates it could call on when needed.

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